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Neuroscience For Kids

Most US Teens are Sleep Deprived
February 15, 2010

cd Are you a teenager who gets enough sleep each night? If you are, then you are one of the very few who do! Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that only 7.6% of high school students in the United States get the optimal time of sleep on school nights.

sleepgraph The researchers gave a questionnaire to high school students and asked how many hours of sleep a student got each school night. To analyze the data, the scientists grouped the students' responses into three categories: 1) insufficient sleep time (less than 8 hours); 2) borderline sleep time (8 hours); 3) optimal sleep time (equal or more than 9 hours).

Of the 12,154 students who responded to the questionnaire, 68.9% reported insufficient sleep, 23.5% reported borderline sleep and only 7.6% reported optimal sleep. More girls (71.3%) than boys (66.6%) reported insufficient sleep and the number of students who reported insufficient sleep increased with grade level: 9th graders (57.7%), 10th graders (67.6%), 11th graders (75.1%), 12th graders (78.2%).

yawn Sleep is essential to good health and the lack of sleep may lead to concentration and memory problems, depression, irritability and stress. As this new research shows, teenagers are not getting enough sleep. The lack of sufficient sleep may be caused by extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, clubs, community service), jobs, early school times, homework, caffeine consumption, and social pressures. The importance of sleep to proper mental health should not be underestimated and sleep is something that should not be sacrificed.

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