TEEN HEALTH Published February17, 2015 By Staff Writer

Are Teenagers Becoming Sleep Deprived?

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(Photo : Mario Tama / Getty Images News) Teen lacks sleep.

Teenagers are often visualized as people who just won't get up from their beds. However, a new study suggests that this might not be the case as teenagers are increasingly sleep deprived. Researchers from the Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health have discovered that the number of hours slept per night has been reduced among American adolescents over the past two decades.

Girls were found out to be more likely affected than boys. Also, those who are part of racial and ethnic minorities, city dwellers and those from the lower socioeconomic status were least likely to get enough sleep of 7 or more hours every night, reported by Medical News Today.

Getting enough sleep is essential for the mind and body. During sleep, it is the only time the body can rest and recuperate from the whole day's work and activities. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep provides an opportunity for important body functions and brain activity. They added that it is as important as the air that you breathe and the food you eat in order to survive.

Consequently, not getting enough sleep might lead to many problems such as limited concentration, inability to learn things efficiently, reduced listening skills and memory lapses. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 9 hours of sleep per night for adolescents.

Dr. Katherine Keyes, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, and colleagues have analyzed data from 1991 through 2012 on about 272,077 adolescents from 'Monitoring the Future', a national cross-sectional survey of adolescent birth cohorts.

The teenagers were asked on how often they would have at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Also, they were asked how often they got less sleep than they should.

Sleep among teenagers declined over the 20 year-period recorded in the survey. The largest sleep reduction happened between 1991 to 1995 and 1996 to 2000. Teenagers aged 15 years old were the ones with the most decrease in sleep time from 71.5% in 1991 to only 63% in 2012.

Also, girls incurred less sleep than boys. Meanwhile, Medscape reported that Black and Hispanic teenagers were less likely than white adolescents to get enough sleep of at least 7 hours at night.

Lack of sleep for teenagers, who are at a crucial point in their physical and mental development,  is detrimental to their development. They should have ample time to sleep as well as maintain proper diet to maximize their growth years. 

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