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Wake up to the problems that come from getting too little sleep

Kidsday reporter Andrew Ma getting ready for a

Kidsday reporter Andrew Ma getting ready for a good night's sleep. Credit: Sherry Ma

Beep, beep, beep. I reach out and smack the snooze button. I lay back in bed and try to go back to sleep.

Sleep is very important for many reasons. Enough sleep keeps the immune system healthy, it also keeps the heart healthy. Getting enough sleep is more likely to prevent heart disease, diabetes and obesity as you get older. Not getting enough sleep affects the way kids learn in school. We all know kids who don’t get enough sleep can get distracted easily, lose focus and be more impulsive.

The amount of sleep also affects how you function during the day. For example, say you had a basketball game and you have a 50-50 ball. If you are tired, you will be slow with your reaction time. You could be clumsier, which would result in you losing the ball. Not getting enough sleep can make you cranky, and you might get mad more easily. You could get frustrated with your friends for silly reasons.

I read that kids from ages 7 to 12 need about 10 to 11 hours a night. I surveyed 100 kids between the ages of 10 to 12 and found out that most kids are not getting enough sleep. Most kids told me they are getting as much as 9½ hours to as little as 6½ hours a night. 

Here are some tips for good night sleep: have a nighttime routine: Turn off electronics and get things done early so you are not stressing when you should be sleeping.

Tom Hughes Rising Stars, Garden City

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