Majority of high school kids lack sleep

Majority of high school kids lack sleep

More than 90 percent of high school students aren’t getting adequate sleep, according to a recent study.

Researchers from Columbia University in New York analyzed data from four surveys taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Data showed that only 6 to 7 percent of females and 8 to 9 percent of males reported sleeping nine or more hours, the CDC’s recommended hours of sleep for teens.

The study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease also found the percentage of students with insufficient sleep increased as they progressed from freshman to senior year of high school.

“I don’t believe there’s one culprit,” said Charles Basch, lead study author and professor at Columbia University in New York City, in a statement. “For some children it’s too much homework, for some it’s health problems like asthma. For others it may be anxiety or depression, or the prescription medications they are taking for such conditions. Recreational drugs can be a factor, as can having electronics in the bedroom.”

Because consistency, quality and duration of sleep are important health factors, the study highlights the need for early sleep intervention, both before and during high school.

Good sleep habits need to be made in high school and kept throughout a person’s life, experts say.

Dr. Muhammad Hamadeh, a specialist in pulmonary medicine and medical director of pulmonary rehabilitation at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., recommends people practice the following sleep hygiene tips:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your internal clock becomes confused when bedtimes regularly fluctuate, and your sleep schedule can be thrown off.
  • Develop sleep rituals: Relax yourself an hour before bedtime with soothing activities and thoughts. Leave any work or frustrations at your bedroom door.
  • Head into bed only when you are tired: Only lay in bed when you are ready to fall asleep, so your mind only associates your bed with sleep, and not work or television. If you are not sleeping within 20 minutes, move into another room for a relaxing activity until you are ready to fall asleep.
  • Exercise early and eat lightly: Exercise at least four hours before bedtime as physical activity can raise your body temperature and disrupt the sleep rhythm. Avoid heavy meals before bedtime and always cut caffeine out of your diet after 2 pm.
  • Never nap: Even if you are tired throughout the day, do not take a nap as your sleep schedule will be affected at night time.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing yet another study showing the importance of our young people getting adequate sleep. My high school senior typically goes to bed after 1am and barely makes it to school on-time the next day. Social media and electronic games are more important to him than sleep. On weekends he goes to bed even later and sleeps past noon, messing up his internal clock. Ironically, he took a course his sophomore year which covered the health benefits of maintaining a consistent sleep schedule but never applied what he had learned. I will show him this article, hoping something will get through to him.

About the Author

Julie Nakis
Julie Nakis

Julie Nakis, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. She earned her BA in communications from the University of Iowa – Go Hawkeyes! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring the city and cheering on the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks.