Most High School Students Are Sleep Deprived

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Most High School Students Are Sleep Deprived

There seems to be a general consensus among experts that adequate sleep for teens is important for their physical and emotional well-being...and that most don't get the sleep they need. I'm aware that helping teens get the sleep they need is much easier said than done. But, given the importance of adequate sleep, I urge parents to make this a high priority.

Only about 8 percent of high school students get enough sleep on an average school night, a large new study finds. The others are living with borderline-to-serious sleep deficits that could lead to daytime drowsiness, depression, headaches and poor performance at school.

The study, which appears online in the Journal of Adolescent Health, evaluated responses from 12,000 students in grades 9 through 12 who participated in the 2007 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The authors found that 10 percent of adolescents sleep only five hours and 23 percent sleep only six hours on an average school night. More females than males have sleep deficits as do more African-Americans and whites compared to Hispanics. Nearly 20 percent more 12th-grade students have sleep deficits than do those in ninth grade.

The findings of this study were consistent with those reported from the National Sleep Foundation's 2006 Sleep in America Poll, the authors say, adding that that although no formally accepted sleep guidelines exist, the foundation defines nine hours a night as optimal for adolescents, eight hours as borderline and anything under eight hours as not enough.

Source: Health Behavior News Service

Read the study from the Journal of Adolescent Health:
Prevalence of Insufficient, Borderline, and Optimal Hours of Sleep Among High School Students - United States, 2007