Grumpy teens who are not getting the recommended amount of sleep tend to engage in more risky, unhealthy acts, say researchers from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Roughly 70 percent of high school students are not getting the recommended hours of sleep on school nights, according to a study by the CDC published Monday online by Preventive Medicine.
“Many adolescents are not getting the recommended hours of sleep they need on school nights, Lela McKnight–Eily, PhD, Division of Adult and Community Health, said in a statement.
Researchers said sleep deprivation is associated with a variety of health-risk behaviors, including physical inactivity, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, fighting, and being sexually active.
In 2007, High school students were asked, “On an average school night, how many hours of sleep do you get?” for a national Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Insufficient sleep is associated with participation in a number of health–risk behaviors including substance use, physical fighting, and serious consideration of suicide attempt,” McKnight–Eily added.
The teens' responses were categorized into insufficient sleep, or less than eight hours, and sufficient sleep, eight or more hours of sleep, as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.
Researchers found that 68.9 percent of teen responders reported insufficient sleep on an average school night.
Of the students who reported insufficient sleep, a majority were more likely to engage in the health-risk behavior than those with sufficient sleep, although, there was no association found between insufficient sleep and watching three or more hours of television each day.
McKnight-Eily said, “Public health intervention is greatly needed, and the consideration of delayed school start times may hold promise as one effective step in a comprehensive approach to address this problem.”
In the study, sleep deprivation was associated with the 10 health-risk behaviors, such as, cigarette, alcohol and marijuana use, drinking soda one or more times a day, being sexually active and lack of physical activity.
Study authors said lack of sleep in teens could even lead to feelings of sadness or an attempted suicide.