What Sleep is and Why all Kids Need it?
"Time to get ready for bed!" someone calls from the other room. Oh, no! You're really into the great book you're reading or that computer game that you're winning.
"Why do I have to go to bed?" you ask. "Sleep is boring, and I'm not even tired!"
But sleep is more important than you may think. Maybe you can think of a time when you didn't get enough sleep. That heavy, groggy feeling is awful and, when you feel that way, you're not at your best. So if you're not too tired, let's talk about sleep.
Why You Need Sleep
The average kid has a busy day. There's school, taking care of your pets, running around with friends, going to sports practice or other activities, and doing your homework. Phew! It's tiring just writing it all down. By the end of the day, your body needs a break. Sleep allows your body to rest for the next day.
Everything that's alive needs sleep to survive. Even your dog or cat curls up for naps. Animals sleep for the same reason you do — to give your body a tiny vacation.
Your Brain Needs Zzzzzs
Not only is sleep necessary for your body, it's important for your brain, too. Though no one is exactly sure what work the brain does when you're asleep, some scientists think that the brain sorts through and stores information, replaces chemicals, and solves problems while you snooze.
Most kids between 5 and 12 get about 9.5 hours a night, but experts agree that most need 10 or 11 hours each night. Sleep is an individual thing and some kids need more than others.
When your body doesn't have enough hours to rest, you may feel tired or cranky, or you may be unable to think clearly. You might have a hard time following directions, or you might have an argument with a friend over something really stupid. A school assignment that's normally easy may feel impossible, or you may feel clumsy playing your favorite sport or instrument.
One more reason to get enough sleep: If you don't, you may not grow as well. That's right, researchers believe too little sleep can affect growth and your immune system — which keeps you from getting sick.
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