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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 14, 2002

Good sleep habits are learned early

Associated Press

Add good sleeping habits to the list of things people should learn as adolescents.

Dr. John Villa, co-director of the Northern New Jersey Center for Sleep Medicine at Holy Name Hospital, says good sleep habits must be learned in childhood and not be dismissed as academic, social and extracurricular demands start taking up time.

Adolescents need a minimum of nine or 10 hours of quality sleep each night. Deprivation can inhibit mental clarity, endurance and school performance.

The following tips from Villa are aimed at teenagers but make sense for all ages:

• Go to bed and awake at the same time each day, even on weekends.

• There is no way to make up for "lost sleep."

• Establish a daily "cool-down" time for low-level stimulation activities such as listening to quiet music.

• Don't drink caffeinated drinks in the afternoon or evening.

• Don't eat dinner close to bedtime or allow overeating.

• Avoid exercise close to bedtime.