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Two-Thirds of American Teens Need More Shut-Eye
Date:1/8/2010

Females, blacks, older teens getting least sleep nightly, study finds,,

FRIDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In news that probably won't surprise the parents or teachers of adolescents, a new study finds that most U.S. teens aren't getting enough sleep each night.

In fact, the study found that almost 69 percent of high school students get less than seven hours of sleep nightly. Only about 8 percent of teens get the optimal amount -- nine hours or more -- every night.

"We found that overall, about two-thirds of high school students are getting insufficient sleep on an average school night," said study author Danice Eaton, a research scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Eaton added that females, blacks and students in higher grades tended to get the least shut-eye.

The findings were published online Jan. 4 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

A lack of sleep can have significant consequences in many areas of a teen's life. "You can take virtually any problem with teens, and a lack of sleep will make it worse," said Dr. Jonathan Pletcher, an adolescent medicine specialist at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

"Other research has shown that a lack of sleep can increase depression, negative physical health like headaches, poor school performance, school absenteeism and drowsy driving," Eaton noted.

When teens do get a full night of quality sleep, past research has shown that their grades may even improve, particularly their math scores.

But, Eaton's study suggests that there's a long way to go before most teens are getting the right amount of sleep. Data for the study came from the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which asked teens how much sleep they get on an average school night.

The researchers found that 68.9 percent of teens reported getting insufficient sleep, which the researchers defined as seven or fewer hours a
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