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Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Sleep

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep so you’re not cranky or sad.
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How Much Sleep Do I Need?

How do you feel at the end of each day? This can help you tell if you are getting enough sleep. If you go to school all day, play sports in the afternoon, and still have energy left, you're probably OK. But if you're dragging by dinnertime, you probably need another hour or so of sleep each night.

Kids need between nine and 10 hours of sleep every night. But many kids don't sleep as much as they should. Sleep problems like trouble falling asleep or waking up at night bother two out of three kids. But why? Some of it is stuff you can control. Almost half of kids lose sleep because they have a TV in their bedroom. Others lose sleep by staying up to text their friends or play video games. So turn off the tube and phone for better sleep.

How many hours of sleep you get is important. But when you go to sleep is also important. Kids who stay up late at night or sleep in late throw off their body's natural sleep cycle. "Listen to your body. Don't stay up late surfing online … or playing video games when you're drowsy," Weissbluth says. Have an out-of-whack sleep cycle and you'll have a hard time getting good rest.

How Can I Get a Good Night's Sleep?

You might be so busy with homework and other stuff that it's hard to find enough time to sleep. Remember that sleep is important, "Just like eating healthy and getting homework done," Mindell says.

Here are a few tips to help you get more sleep each night:

  • Ask your parents to help you figure out a bedtime that will give you at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Try to stick to that bedtime, even on the weekends.
  • If you're going to bed in two hours or less, don't eat a big meal. Heavy foods can make you feel too full to fall asleep.
  • If you're thirsty before bed, don't drink soda. It can be full of sugar and caffeine, which can keep you awake.
  • Set aside time to relax and wind down. About an hour before bedtime, do something that totally relaxes you. Take a warm bath, read a book, or listen to some quiet music.

Ready to make your room a great place to sleep? Try This: Making the Perfect Sleep Zone

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Reviewed on January 12, 2012