More sleep could mean fewer injuries for teen athletes

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Learning to balance games, practice, and homework is the life for any student who wants to be involved with sports.

Add to that being a teenager you have the perfect formula for sleep deprivation.

"Lack of sleep can interfere with your thinking and your motor skills," says Dr. Carolyn Hart, MD with Novant Sleep-Health.

And this lifestyle that can take its toll on the body according to a recent study.

"It was done by an orthopedic surgeon not a sleep doctor," said Dr. Hart.

"So this is someone outside the field of sleep saying sleep is one of the most important things you can do."

We know from previous research have said that sleeping can improve an athlete's game.

"The brain and the muscles and the bones, can't just run on empty," said Dr. hart.

"You need to recharge them."

But now results of a recent study presented at an American Academy of Pediatrics conference showed that adolescent athletes who sleep more are 68 percent less likely to be injured than those who said they slept less.

"While you're sleeping, your brain is repairing itself, your muscles are repairing, your bones are strengthening, and you're fighting off potential infections," added Dr. Hart.

She says tired teens may also be putting themselves  at risk for a health problem.

"Heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, frustration in relationships, not to mention car accidents," said Dr. Hart.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teens get more than nine hours of sleep per night.

Dr. Carolyn Hart also suggest an electronic blackout the last hour before bed.

Turn off the television, the computer and cell phones so your brains slowly starts to shut down.

The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips for teen's sleep on its website:

•Make getting a good night's sleep a priority.

•Well timed-naps can recharge your battery.

•Keep your room cool, quiet and dark.

•Avoid caffeine before bedtime.

•Pick a bedtime and try and stick to it as much as possible.

•Don't eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours of going to sleep.

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