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Teen Health

U.S. Teens Falling Short on Sleep

Survey: 4 out of 5 Adolescents Don't Get the Optimal Amount of Sleep
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Parents Out of the Loop

Nine out of 10 parents reported that they believed their adolescent got enough sleep at least a few nights a week on school nights.

It's not clear if the parents thought their children were getting nine or more hours of nightly sleep, or if they defined "enough sleep" differently than the sleep experts cited in the survey.

Adolescents indicated that they needed about eight hours of sleep to feel their best during the day. When asked if they could say, "I had a good night's sleep" every night or almost every night a week, about four in 10 agreed.

They also reported having lots of electronic distractions in their bedrooms, including:

  • Electronic music device: 90%
  • TV: 57%
  • Electronic/video games: 43%
  • Cell phone: 42%
  • Land-line telephone: 34%
  • Computer: 28%
  • Internet access: 21%

Foundation's Advice

A National Sleep Foundation news release includes these sleep-friendly tips for adolescents:

  • Go to bed and get up at consistent times, even on weekends.
  • Get at least nine hours of sleep nightly.
  • Have a relaxing routine before bed, such as reading for fun or taking a warm bath or shower.
  • Keep the bedroom comfortable, dark, and quiet.
  • Get into bright light as soon as possible in the morning.
  • Avoid bright light in the evening.
  • Keep TVs and other distractions out of the bedroom.
  • Limit TV and other distractions before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch.

Parents can also help by serving as role models for good sleep habits, says the National Sleep Foundation. Funding for the National Sleep Foundation comes from sources such as foundations, federal agencies, and corporations including pharmaceutical companies.

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