Teens and Sleep - The Nebraska Medical Center

Uploaded by NebraskaMedCenter on 05.12.2011

On an average they require nine hours of sleep. Most teenagers are getting less than on an
average less than seven hours most nights. We can no longer expect them to be in bed
by nine and at the same time we can’t expect them to be up at 6 a.m. They are not going
to bed earlier but they are made to get up earlier. This leads to some sleep loss every
single night and that has an effect on how they function during the daytime. Most people,
including teenagers, say they are fine getting six hours because it doesn’t affect them.
This might be true in some extent but they may be right in doing things correctly but
at the expense of being efficient. You are actually more efficient and more productive
got your sleep hours at night.
There is good data out there that says if you don’t get enough sleep hours at night
it negatively affects your mood during the daytime. You are probably more irritable and
you are more likely to have drowsy related accidents. There is also good data that suggests
that it will affect your learning as well.
Having schools start just a little more than an hour later does lead to improved attendance
rates. There is less tardiness and teachers and principals have noted that the students
are calmer, more alert and there is a slight improvement in grades. As far as behavior
is concerned there is certainly a significant improvement.
They delayed the school start time about an hour late and at the end of two years they
looked at the number of driving related teen crashes. There was actually a decrease in
such incidents by 16.5 percent in that county. When they looked at the rest of the state
it was up by 7.8 percent. We are definitely seeing a good reason here.
Sleep education should be a part of any education system. It should be a major public health
issue. There should be a campaign of some sort to promote healthy sleep habits and to
promote this idea that getting optimum sleep hours is part of being healthy.