Nov. 13 (UPI) -- When kids don't get enough sleep it could set them up to have unhealthy lifestyles as they get older.
Children ages 6 to 12 should regularly sleep between nine to 12 hours for peak health, while teens aged 13 to 18 should get between eight to 10 hours of sleep, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
"Approximately 40 percent of schoolchildren in the study slept less than recommended," senior author Labros Sidossis, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Rutgers University, said in a press release. "Insufficient sleeping levels were associated with poor dietary habits, increased screen time and obesity in both genders."
The academy analyzed data from more than 177,000 kids in Greece who participated in the survey. A higher percentage of males -- 42.3 -- than females -- 37.3 -- reported deficient sleep times, which also leads to lower aerobic and physical activity. The physical education teachers gauge the children's anthropometric and fitness measurements.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published the findings in their latest issue.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, before children go to bed for the night they should eat a light snack, stay away from caffeinated drinks and plan about an hour of quiet time before sleep.
"Insufficient sleep duration among children constitutes an understated health problem in Westernized societies," Sidossis said. "Taking into consideration these epidemiologic findings, parents, teachers and health professionals should promote strategies emphasizing healthy sleeping patterns for school-aged children in terms of quality and duration."