Sleepy Teens More Likely to Have Risky Behavior

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sleepy Teens More Likely to Have Risky Behavior

Most teens don't get enough sleep, putting them at greater risk for a slew of unhealthy behaviors, from physical inactivity to fighting, according to a new U.S. study.

The study findings also showed that sleep-deprived teens were more likely to seriously consider attempting suicide, the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

For the study, the investigators analyzed the results of a 2007 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey of high school students who were polled about their sleep habits. The survey found that nearly 70 percent of the teens were not getting the National Sleep Foundation's recommended eight or more hours of sleep on week nights.

The research also revealed that the students who said they got less than eight hours of sleep on school nights were more likely to engage in behaviors that put their health at risk, including:

•Drinking non-diet soda at least once a day.
•Being sedentary or not getting 60 minutes of physical activity on at least five of the past seven days.
•Spending three or more hours each day in front of the computer.
•Getting in at least one physical fight.
•Engaging in substance use, such as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes or marijuana.
•Having sex.
•Feeling sad or hopeless.
•Seriously contemplating suicide.

The research was released online in advance of print publication in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Source: USA Today