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Quiz: Are your kids getting enough sleep?

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How much sleep do teenagers need a night?

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How much sleep do teenagers need a night?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Whatever they tell you, teenagers need between eight and nine hours of sleep, which has been proved to enhance memory and performance. Teens with hectic lives often stay up late, so if you’re having trouble dragging them out of bed in the morning, talk to them about the importance of scaling back and getting a good night's rest. Less than 8.5 hours isn't enough - especially on school nights - and younger children need even more sleep – up to 10 to 11 hours a night.

 

Lack of sleep affects school work, mood and overall health. It can trigger unhealthy eating as teens resort to junk food to fuel flagging energy. Late night bingeing on fried or sugary snacks can also lead to unhealthy weight gain. Suggest these tips for better sleep habits:

  • Cutting out caffeine
  • Regular exercise  (one hour a day for teens)
  • A regular bedtime routine
  • A dark, sleep-friendly bedroom, with a comfy bed
  • Ban TV and computer screens from the bedroom
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Catching up on sleep at the weekend makes up for lost sleep.

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Catching up on sleep at the weekend makes up for lost sleep.

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  • Correct Answer:

Catching up on sleep at the weekends can totally disrupt a child or teenager's body clock. In severe cases the body becomes so disorientated children are unable to fall asleep until late at night which results in delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS). No matter how tired they feel, kids should avoid marathon, weekend lie-ins which can leave them with a kind of 'jet lag' when they get up for school on Monday. Experts recommend staying as close to the weekday routine as possible and only varying wake up times by about an hour at the weekends.

Watching TV in bed helps kids sleep:

Watching TV in bed helps kids sleep:

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  • Correct Answer:

At any age, children’s bedrooms should be TV and computer-free zones, associated only with sleep. Experts say bright, noisy screens, mobiles and other electronic gadgets disrupt that association and disturb sleep. Exposure to light from TVs, computers or smart phones effectively tricks the body into staying alert and awake. Try these tips:

  • Keep all electronic devices out of the bedroom
  • Charge phones outside the bedroom to avoid disruption by texts or emails.

A nap can help refresh a tired child.

A nap can help refresh a tired child.

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  • Correct Answer:

Most children don't require naps after about five years old, but a quick cat nap can help them feel refreshed and less fatigued. The key is to keep it brief – no longer than 20 to 30 minutes and always before 5pm. This works for teenagers too. Any longer and they can go into deep sleep, then wake groggy and irritable and have trouble getting to sleep that night. If your child is really tired, it's best to avoid napping altogether and just get them to bed a little earlier.

Doing their homework in bed:

Doing their homework in bed:

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  • Correct Answer:

Doing homework in bed can help children associate their bed with the stress of study and school work – which then disrupts sleep. If the bedroom is the only place they can work, make sure you set up a desk or a specific area away from the bed. That way the bed remains a stress-free place of rest.

Too much caffeine can disrupt your child's sleep and make them struggle to stay awake during the day.

Too much caffeine can disrupt your child's sleep and make them struggle to stay awake during the day.

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Studies show too much caffeine can undermine your child’s performance in school by disrupting sleep and leading to fatigue during the day. One study found teens that struggled to stay awake in school consumed 75% more caffeine than counterparts who did not struggle to stay awake.

 

Caffeine also contains polyphenols, which bind to iron and make it difficult for the body to absorb iron – an element that is essential for child's growth and development.

 

Energy drinks and colas also contain lots of sugar and are linked with childhood obesity. Offer your child plain water or sparkling water if they want a fizz.

Teenagers tend to stay up late because:

Teenagers tend to stay up late because:

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  • Correct Answer:

Experts confirm that teenagers stay up late because hormones that kick in during puberty make them unable to sleep before 10 pm at night. This means they are most alert and awake during the evenings.

 

Despite that, it's best to stick to a set routine and have them power down electronics at a set time. Bedtime routines aren’t just for babies. The Sleep Council says bedtime rituals teach the brain and body clock what to expect and help you wind down in preparation for sleep. So, a routine like brushing your teeth, reading and lights off at a certain time can be a great sleep aid.

If your child is restless and unable to drift off to sleep, tell her to:

If your child is restless and unable to drift off to sleep, tell her to:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Tossing and turning in bed is no help to anyone who wants to get to sleep and only makes children and adults more stressed out.

 

Suggest your child gets out of bed and reads, listens to relaxing music, or does some other low-level activity by a dim light, to encourage sleepiness.

 

A warm, but not hot, bath before bed may help relax muscles and make it easier for children to doze off.

Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Well done! You're not dozy when it comes to kids' sleep.

Not too bad. You know quite a bit about children and sleep.

You may want to try again to beef up your bedtime know-how to get the best possible rest for your children.

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