A mere 8% of high school students get adequate sleep on school nights, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which surveyed 12,000 students in grades 9 through 12.
The authors found that 10% of adolescents sleep only five hours and 23% sleep only six hours on an average school night. More females than males have sleep deficits as do more African-Americans and whites compared to Hispanics. Nearly 20% more 12th-grade students have sleep deficits than do those in ninth grade.
“The natural sleep-wake pattern shifts during adolescence, making earlier bed time and wake times more difficult. The result for students with early school start-times is a chronic sleep deficit,” notes lead study author Danice Eaton, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
National Sleep Foundation research shows that delaying school start-times by an hour or more increases the amount of sleep adolescents get and improves their performance in school. However, to promote optimal sleep, Dr. Eaton said that adolescents should have set bedtimes before 10 pm. on school nights and consistent wake-sleep times every night.
Journal of Adolescent Health – January 4, 2010;Epub. www.jahonline.org