CDC studies poor sleep among teens

Many teens aren’t getting enough sleep. But how many?

A Jan. 26 study from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a look at 2015 data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys in nine states to see how youth were faring

CDC Teens

First, it’s important to understand how much sleep teens should be getting. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends children between the ages of 6 and 12 should sleep a minimum of nine hours. Teenagers ages 13 to 18 should sleep eight to 10 hours a night.

Based on the questionnaires, the CDC found the percentage of middle school students who were not getting enough rest was 57.8%. When the CDC looked at high schoolers, the percentage was even higher—72.7%.

“Insufficient sleep among children and adolescents is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, attention and behavior problems, and poor academic performance,” researchers note in a news release about the study. “The large percentage of middle school and high school students who do not get enough sleep on school nights suggests a need for promoting sleep health in schools and at home and delaying school start times to permit students adequate time for sleep.”

Parents have a strong role to play, according to researchers. Parents should encourage a consistent bedtime during the school week and on weekends, and limit use of electronics before bed.