Regular exercise improves a teenager's chances of a good night's sleep, while using the computer for more than two hours a day has the opposite effect, reveals a new study.
The study of nearly 15,000 high school students found that those who spent at least an hour engaging in physical activity daily were significantly more likely to report "sufficient" sleep-eight hours or more per night-than students who were inactive.
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Earlier research has had similar findings, but this is the first large, nationally representative study to connect physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep in high school students, claimed Kathryn Foti, M.P.H., a health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health and lead author of the paper.
"The message for parents is that encouraging daily physical activity and limiting computer use outside of what's necessary for schoolwork, can help students get the sleep they need," she said.
Judith Owens, M.D., director of sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. stated, "It is a vital issue."
"Insufficient sleep increases the risk of obesity, affects academic performance and has implications for safety. Chronic sleep restriction affects the immune system, the developing brain and the cardiovascular system," she added.
The analysis also linked extensive TV watching-four or more hours daily-to insufficient sleep.
The study appeared in the latest issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.