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Sleep, Exercise, Screen Time: Help Your Teen Adopt Healthy Habits

August 2019

Sleep, Exercise, Screen Time: Help Your Teen Adopt Healthy Habits

Think your teenager is getting enough sleep and exercise? Think again. Only 5% of U.S. teens are meeting these goals, according to a recent study. And researchers found most teens are also falling short on another important recommendation—getting no more than 2 hours of screen time a day. Not meeting these three goals may put kids’ physical and mental health at risk, as well as affect their behavior and academic achievement.  

Teens smiling, ready to do push-ups outdoors

Getting enough sleep and exercise

Experts recommend teens ages 13 to 18 get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night and log at least 1 hour of physical activity every day. These 2 activities are often interconnected: Being active will also help your teen sleep better. Here’s how to help your kids meet these goals:

  • Encourage your teens to join a sport that interests them. The more they enjoy it, the more likely they are to stick with it.

  • Find activities to do together. Try taking a walk after dinner, going for a bike ride, or trying out a new sport, such as rock climbing, yoga, or marital arts.

  • For a good night’s sleep, set firm rules around screen time before bed. Experts recommend keeping all screens out of kids’ bedrooms and avoiding screen time at least 1 hour before bedtime.

  • Be a good role model. If your kids see you enjoying physical activity, it’s more likely they will, too. The same goes for getting enough shut-eye.

Keeping screen time healthy

Time spent in front of a screen is mostly sedentary and often solitary. This can lead to problems with physical and emotional health. Here are some ways to keep your teen’s screen time in check:

  • Make mealtimes screen-free. Ban cell phones from the table and keep the TV off.

  • Share some screen time together. Use the opportunity to discuss difficult topics that arise in a movie or TV show.

  • Set limits on how much time your teen spends in front of a screen and stick to them.

  • Follow the rules yourself. You’re an important role model and your kids will learn by your behavior.  

Reviewed Date: 05-01-2019

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.