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

it, too," he said.

The current study, published in the June issue of Pediatrics, recruited 100 teens from the Philadelphia area to assess their technology and caffeine use, as well as their sleeping habits.

The teens were between 12 and 18, with an average age of 15. Fifty-eight percent were female. Sixty-two percent were white, and 27 percent were black. The average household income was $51,800.

Two-thirds of the teens had a television in their bedroom, and nearly one-third had a computer. Ninety percent of the teens had their own cell phone, and 79 percent had a personal music device.

On average, teens said they used four devices after 9 p.m. More than 80 percent of the teens reported watching TV after 9 p.m., and one-third said they sent text messages after 9 p.m. Fifty-five percent were online after 9 p.m.

Fifteen percent of the youngsters said they only slept three to five hours per night, while 62 percent reported getting six to eight hours nightly. Just 20 percent slept 8 or more hours each night.

As sleep-deprived adults so often do, tired teens reached for caffeine to keep them awake. Only 27.5 percent of the teens drank less than 100 milligrams of caffeine daily, or about the equivalent of one espresso. Eleven percent drank the equivalent of more than four espressos daily. And, because many schools limit the sale of energy drinks, teens often got the bulk of their caffeine dose after 3 p.m., which Calamaro said could definitely disrupt sleep.

"Parents and teens need to recognize that energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster are not without side effects," said Calamaro.

Both Calamaro and Pletcher recommended that parents limit technological devices in the bedroom. Don't, for example, allow your child to sleep with his or her cell phone next to the bed. Get it out of the bedroom instead.

Pletcher said that teens need to practice good sleep hygiene
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