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Sleep deprived teens take more risk – The Chart

It’s not uncommon for teens to stay up late – finish homework, chat or email with friends, participate in social activities, or work.

A study published in Preventive Medicine finds that more than two-thirds of American teens report sleeping less than eight hours on school nights, and researchers say insufficient sleep is associated with risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol. alcohol, being sexually active, using marijuana, reducing physical activity, and feeling sad or helpless.

“Insufficient sleep on school evenings is common and is associated with participation in risky health behaviors, including substance use, fighting and dealing with suicide,” according to lead author Lela R McKnight-Eily of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who explained that although previous research has revealed the severe sleep deficit experienced by many adolescents, this is the first large-scale national research to link a variety from sleep behaviors in adolescents to health risk behaviors using survey data on risky behaviors in youth. Other studies have made this connection with some of the risk behaviors studied, but generally with much smaller or non-national samples.

The authors analyzed data from the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which collected information from American teens in grades 9 to 12 from all states and the District of Columbia. The survey is administered in public and private schools every two years. This study included data from more than 12,000 interviewed adolescents who, for the first time, were asked about their sleep patterns and duration.

Insufficient sleep was defined as less than eight hours of sleep. Students were asked “on an average school night, how many hours of sleep do you sleep?” Responses were divided into eight or more hours per night (adequate sleep) or less than eight hours of sleep (insufficient sleep).

The researchers compared responses on sleep with responses on 11 risky health behaviors, including drinking sodas with sugar, time spent exercising per week, time spent watching television, and watching TV. ” using a computer outside of school, using cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana, being currently sexually active, feeling sad or hopeless, fighting, and if they had thought about suicide during the last year.

Less than eight hours of sleep were associated with 10 of 11 health risk behaviors. Watching television was the health risk behavior that was not associated with insufficient sleep, although boys with insufficient sleep were more likely to watch television for more than three hours. The same did not apply to women.

Two of the health risk behaviors varied by race and ethnicity: Among Hispanic and white college students who reported lack of sleep, their chances were higher of feeling sad or hopeless. The same association was not seen in black adolescents. Black and Hispanic teens who reported insufficient sleep also had an associated lack of physical activity of at least 60 minutes in five of the previous seven days. The same association was not found with white students.

CNNHealth sleep expert Dr Lisa Shives said the study results add to the body of knowledge about how sleep deprivation affects us. “Most people know that if they don’t get enough sleep, they can’t make good decisions,” Shives said. “Chronic and partial sleep deprivation affects our ability to think correctly, make good decisions, and has an impact on our behavior.” For teens, who need nine to nine and a half hours of sleep per night, sleeping less than eight hours can have a big impact on their functioning, she added.

“Even if it’s difficult, parents can try to set consistent bedtime times for their teens,” McKnight-Ely suggested, in an effort to encourage teens to sleep longer. She also suggests that parents see a healthcare professional if they feel that lack of sleep is affecting their teen’s behavior.

For more information, see the CDC watch site.

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