Not only does a lack of sleep make teenagers less alert during class the next day, but new research also indicates that sleepy adolescents eat more junk food and are more likely to be obese.
A study by New York’s Stony Brook University School of Medicine found that teens who slept fewer than seven hours per night were more likely to consume fast food multiple times per week and less likely to snack on fruits and veggies.
Another recent study showed that adolescents who sleep more have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI is an indicator of body fatness calculated from a person’s weight and height). According to the study, if teens increased their sleep from 8 to 10 hours per day, it could result in a significant reduction in the number of overweight adolescents, which translates to roughly 500,000 fewer overweight teens in the United States!
Establishing good eating and sleep patterns during adolescence can set the stage for life-long healthy habits. Here are some tips from the CDC on how teens can get the recommended 9-10 hours of sleep per night:
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