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Nation's TV-Watching, Caffeine-Swigging Kids Lack Sleep: Study

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WASHINGTON - Most children are not getting enough sleep and television and caffeine are keeping many of them awake, the National Sleep Foundation said yesterday.

A survey conducted by the foundation of 1,400 parents found that 26 percent of kids 3 or older drink at least one caffeinated beverage a day, including sodas or iced tea. Those children slept a half-hour less each night than those who did not drink caffeine.

Parents also reported that 43 percent of school-aged children had a TV set in their bedrooms, as did one-third of kids ages 3 to 5 - and 20 percent of infants and toddlers.

According to the poll, children with televisions went to sleep 20 minutes later than children without TVs and slept on average a half-hour less per night.

The poll also found that kids in all age groups were getting insufficient sleep. Infants from 3 to 11 months were sleeping only 12.7 hours a day on average, although they need 14 to 15 hours. Toddlers 1 to 3 slept 11.7 hours, rather than the 12 to 14 hours they need.

Preschoolers up to 5 slept 10.4 hours a night on average, although they are supposed to get 11 to 13 hours. And kids up to 10 slept 9.5 hours instead of the 10 to 11 hours they require.

The survey also showed that 30 percent of all children ages 1 to 10 wake at least once a night needing attention. And more than 50 percent of parents "are being awakened at least one night a week by their children," said Jodi Mindell, a director of the foundation and associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.Reuters

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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