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Health

Why Sleep is so Important

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 06/22/16, 2:00PM EDT

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Getting enough rest helps the body recharge and refuel

We often hear about kids not getting enough exercise because they are spending too much time indoors. When you map out the schedule of a typical kid, there can be very precious but limited free time after combining school, homework and other extra-curricular social activities.

ParticipACTION recently released a report that details how kids are not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can have a trickle-down effect on the daily lives of kids. From trouble focusing to shorter attention spans, the study explains why sleep is so important.

Making changes requires a commitment to creating a new routine and cutting out some habits. The body needs to be refueled after each day and athletes need proper rest to recharge for the next day’s work.

Here are some tips to get a better sleep and how making changes to your routine will have long term benefits.

Reduce screen time before bed
This is the easiest change to make. The last thing you look at before you go to sleep should not be a screen as the lights they emit don’t allow your eyes to relax. Reading a book or writing in a journal are other activities that can be done once you are unplugged for the night.

Establish a physical routine
Dedicate specific times each day or throughout the week to commit to physical activity. Whether it is playing a sport or keeping fit, carving out dedicated times removes having to make a decision to exercise and instead becomes routine.

Eat properly
Make sure that you eat full meals at the proper times. Try to stay away from unhealthy snacks. Going to bed on a full stomach is crucial to give your body enough energy to recharge while you sleep.

Go outside
Sunlight helps to regulate the body’s internal clock and schedule. Plus, if you’re outside, you’re likely moving around as well. In the summer months, exercise can be moved outside and you can adjust your physical routine to adapt to this change.

Making these small changes can have a much larger effect on how a child feels and learns. Increased time sleeping actually leads to children being more physically active according the report. It’s a cycle that can be managed and should be implemented.

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