Kids still need 9 hours of sleep in summer

June 30, 2011 at 10:20 PM
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y., June 30 (UPI) -- No matter the season, school-age kids and teens need an average of 9 hours sleep per night, but summer can wreak havoc on sleep patterns, U.S. researchers say.

Mary Muscari, associate professor in the Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University in New York, the author of "Let Kids be Kids: Rescuing Childhood," says children may not want to go to bed as usual during the summer, but losing sleep can cause crankiness, learning difficulties and accidents -- and can even make some children more prone to depression.

"Better sleep means happier kids. Indulge your child with later bedtimes balanced with later wake-ups, but stick to a regular schedule to avoid disrupting sleep patterns," Muscari says in a statement. "Sticking to a vacation sleep schedule helps ease your kids into the school-time sleep schedule, especially if you start at least a week before."

Young children have an easier time transitioning their sleep back in the fall but once puberty hits, the ease of this shift comes to an abrupt halt and pubertal changes in the sleep hormone melatonin encourage later sleep and wake-up times by shifting the circadian rhythm.

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