Sleep Deprivation In Teens Leads To Risky Behaviors

According to the 2007 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 68.9 percent of adolescents were found to be sleep deprived. And the students who were rated as sleep deprived were more likely to engage in risky health behaviors.

Ten major health risk behaviors have been associated with students who are considered sleep-deprived. Students drank one or more soda daily, did not participate in 60 minutes of physical activity in 5 of the last 7 days, computer use for more than 3 hours a day, in a physical fight more than once, Current cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use, current marijuana use, currently sexually active, felt sad or hopeless and seriously considered attempting suicide.

Dr. Lela McKnight-Eily, PhD, with CDC’s Division of Adult and Community Health says, “Many adolescents are not getting the recommended hours of sleep they need on school nights. Insufficient sleep is associated with participation in a number of health-risk behaviors including substance use, physical fighting, and serious consideration of suicide attempt. Public health intervention is greatly needed, and the consideration of delayed school start times may hold promise as one effective step in a comprehensive approach to address this problem.”

MSNBC notes that sleep deprivation in students should be seen as a warning sign for parents. Parents should be looking deeper into their teen´s lives and check if their teens have other problems.

The survey covered more than 12,000 teens nationwide and was published online by the Preventive Medicine Journal. The CDC told MSNBC that this is believed to be the first large, national survey of its kind.

Dr. McKnight-Eily told MSNBC, “I definitely wouldn´t ignore it. I think it is important for parents and adolescents themselves to both be aware o the issue and what can be associated with it.

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