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Technology, Caffeine Keeping Teens Awake
Date:5/28/2009

Many routinely get just 3 to 5 hours sleep per night, study shows,,,,

THURSDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Just one in five teens is getting the recommended eight hours of sleep each night. The rest may be texting the night away with the help of highly-caffeinated energy drinks, according to new research.

And, it's not that teens don't need the sleep. One-third of teens polled reported falling asleep in school at least twice each day. Several students even confessed to falling asleep at the wheel while driving.

"We found that as these adolescents multitask into the night, they also caffeinate, and it affects their sleep dramatically," said the study's lead author, Christina Calamaro, an assistant professor of nursing at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The U.S. population as a whole has lost about one to two hours of nightly sleep during the past four decades, according to background information in the study. At the same time, there's been a twofold increase in the number of teens getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. But, teens may need even more sleep than adults. Some experts suggest that eight to nine hours a night is inadequate for most teens.

While sleep duration decreased, the amount of technology in adolescents' bedrooms increased. Almost all teens have at least one electronic device in their room -- TV, cell phone, computer, telephone or music device. The average sixth-grader has two of these devices in the bedroom, according to the study. By 12th grade, there are often four electronic devices in the bedroom.

"These technological devices activate the mind. It's like having a stressful work conversation just before getting into bed," explained Dr. Jonathan Pletcher, an adolescent medicine specialist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

"I think teens definitely underestimate the effect on sleep these devices have. I think most adults underestimate
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