Study: Less than half US children getting minimum 9 hours sleep

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NEW YORK (CBS) Are your children getting enough sleep? New research shows about half of kids in the U.S. are not getting enough Zs.

Sarah Jane Witchell makes sure her six-year-old daughter gets plenty of sleep.

Reporter Tom Hanson: When your daughter doesn't get enough sleep what's she like?
Sarah Jane Witchell: She's a complete nightmare and not cute, there's a lot of fighting, a lot of back and forth.

She says her secret to getting her daughter to bed is a good routine. "We read stories, we brush our teeth," Witchell said. "She knows too that if she doesn't follow the routine, it's no fun for her."

A new study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference shows many kids need more rest. Researchers surveyed parents of nearly 50,000 U.S. children ages six to 17 and found less than half are getting the recommended minimum of nine hours of sleep most weeknights.

"If a kid is getting enough sleep, then that kid has the opportunity to be better equipped for the day. That means stays on task in school, doesn't melt down at the end of the day with mom and dad, is happier and is just flourishing," said Dr. Ellen Rome, a pediatrician with Cleveland Clinic Children's.

Many parents and kids are balancing crazy schedules these days, from school and work, to after school homework, sports and activities, but Dr. Rome says everyone needs to make sleep a priority. "Parents can set up systems so their kid is organized to have schedules that work. Parents can also be careful not to over schedule," she said.

Dr. Rome also says no electronics in the bedroom and no screen time before bed.

That's part of the Sullivan family's routine. We try to make sure our kids don't look at their screens maybe an hour or so before going to bed," said Katelyn Sullivan, a parent. She says more sleep is a win for the whole family.