Teens require 8-10 hour of sleep daily. Yet, for many – up to 79% – they are not getting sufficient sleep – less than 7 hours per night – or quality sleep, to function at peak capacity during the day. This was the finding of one study. In this study, (Pediatrics 2006)¹, 33% of adolescents participating, reported falling asleep at least twice during school. For those falling asleep, caffeine consumption was 76% higher. Difficulty falling asleep on the weekends was also reported, .
A reported 85% of the adolescents drank caffeine – coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks – even though the school districts limited access to caffeinated products.
The caffeine consumption was related to the use of “multiple forms of technology” – computers (on line), televisions, cellular telephones, portable music devices (such as MP3 digital audio players) and other electronic devices”.
An average of 4 different technologies were used after 9 PM and late into the evening – the majority of which were used in the bedroom. This, was facilitated by the caffeine consumption and contributed to the “daytime sleepiness” impairment .
As reported in the study, early school schedules, homework, social activities and personal time competed for the waking hours that are available.
The sleep deficits, impairs teens and may put them at “greater risk for physical and mental health problems, impaired academic performance, and automobile accidents”. Of the students that did drive, 50% reported driving while sleepy and 1 reported falling asleep while driving.
Sleep deprivation was also associated with: naps after school and on weekends and sleeping in on weekends.
A review of the findings by of the study, published on National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) website, included the following health consequences and recommendations associated with sleep deprivation:
- mood disorder…substance abuse…asthma exacerbations…and obesity
- “Help teens understand that sleep is as important as eating and breathing; that a lack of sleep can lead to poor performance at home, at school, and on the athletic field; and that a lack of sleep can result in a higher likelihood of car crashes, which may be fatal.
- Limit access to electronic media in bedrooms after normal bedtime.
- Limit access to caffeinated beverages 5 or more hours before bedtime.
- Encourage and support teens in learning how to manage their busy lives, including regular bedtimes and adequate sleep duration.”
For additional information: Your Guide to Healthy Sleep, Wean the Screen. Resources from We Can!™, Educating Youth about Sleep and Drowsy Driving: Strategy Development Workshop Report. (1998)
1 – “Adolescents living the 24/7 lifestyle: Effects of caffeine and technology on sleep duration and daytime functioning,” Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 6 June 2009, pp. e1005-e1010 (doi:10.1542/peds.2008-3641), published online May 26, 2009, World Wide Web, researched on line January 8, 2010.