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How to help your teen get enough sleep

If your teenagers are cranky, distracted, and disorganized, it may well be because they're not getting enough sleep during the week. And sleeping in on weekends doesn't solve the problem.

The latest contribution to the growing pile of evidence showing that teenagers are being seriously shortchanged found that just 10 percent of adolescents are getting the optimal 10 hours of shut-eye a night.

Who's least likely to get enough sleep? The survey of students across the nation, published in this month's Journal of Adolescent Health, found that those most likely to miss out on sleep are female, black, and/or in the higher grade levels.

Danice Eaton, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who conducted the study, offers this advice:

Teenagers should stick to a consistent bedtime.

Research shows that maintaining a more regular sleep schedule makes it easier to fall asleep.

Don't let your teens sleep in.

They should strive to wake up no more than two to three hours later on weekends to keep biological clocks on cycle. "If they are chronically shortchanging their sleep," Eaton said, "it does have negative medical and mental health outcomes."

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