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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Sleepy teens

Teens aren’t getting enough sleep, concludes an analysis by Jean Twenge, a San Diego State psychology professor.

In two surveys, 40 percent of adolescents reported sleeping less than seven hours a night in 2015. That’s way up from past estimates.

“The more time young people reported spending online, the less sleep they got,” the report noted. “Teens who spent five hours a day online were 50 percent more likely to not sleep enough than their peers who only spent an hour online each day.”

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Teens who sleep for less than eight hours are sleep-deprived, writes researcher Kyla Wahlstrom. “Yet, the average teen in America obtains less than seven hours of sleep on a school night.”

Nearly half of U.S. high schools start before 8 am, and more than 85 percent start before 8:30, she writes. When schools push back start times, “students do in fact get more sleep, tending to go to bed at the same time but getting to rise a bit later in the morning,” Wahlstrom’s research has found. “Their academic performance improves significantly.”

Starting school later — say at 8:30 am — would improve students’ academic performance, driving, health and the U.S. economy, according to a RAND analysis.

Over 15 years, the U.S. economy would benefit by $9.3 billion annually, the study estimates. That doesn’t include possible benefits in reducing suicides, obesity and mental-health problems, all of which are linked to insufficient sleep.

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1 Comment

Nicholson Percy
Nicholson Percy
May 21

The study found that young people's sleep space bar clicker duration was negatively correlated with the amount of time they spent online.

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