Study: Teens More Sleep Deprived Than Ever


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A new study suggests teenagers are more sleep-deprived than ever before. 

U.S. researchers investigated the sleep patterns of nearly 300,000 teens from 1991 to 2012.
Results of the study were published in Monday’s Pediatrics.

It’s being called the great sleep recession.
More than half of kids aged 15 and older need to sleep at least two hours more each night to meet recommendations for adequate rest.

All of the kids Local 5’s Cole Higgins spoke with, say they’re feeling the need for more sleep.

“A lot of kids like sleep during class, especially if teachers show powerpoints and shut off the lights and stuff…Yea a lot of kids are sleepy, ” says Senior at Green Bay East High School, Evan Molling. 

According to researchers who analyzed national surveys of youth behavior, almost half of the kids in the U.S. are sleepy.

“Ideally more in the 8 to 10 hours but atleast 7 hours of sleep a night,” says Prevea Pediatrician, Dr. Lindsay Deuster.

That’s how many hours the National Sleep Foundation says teenagers should sleep for; the NSF updating it’s recommendations just this month.

But, more than half of the 15 to 19 year olds surveyed say they don’t even get seven hours of shut-eye each night.

That can be a problem, says Dr. Deuster, “we can see problems with mood, we can see problems with attention, we see kids struggle in school more. “

So why has the problem of teens not getting enough sleep, worsened over the last two decades?

Researchers aren’t certain,  but say a main factor that may have contributed is the increasing use of social media and smartphones.

“Those electronics prevent your body from producing the hormone melatonin – that’s what helps you fall asleep,” Dr. Deuster explains.

So what can you do  to make sure your teenager is getting more sleep? Dr. Deuster says start by turning off the smartphones and electornics at night, about a half hour before bed.

She also suggests that parents lead by example, making sure they practice that same rule of turning off electronics at night. 

You may also want to try as best you can to keep a routine. Hitting the snooze button on the weekend may feel better at the time, but it will make it even harder to get up on time during the week.

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