CDC: Insufficient Sleep for Teens Leads to Risks

It’s no surprise to parents of teenagers that sleep is a problem for young people. However, new evidence lends credence to what parents have always known: too little sleep can cause real problems for teenagers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released study results showing that too little—or too much—sleep can be a serious issue for teenagers.

Kids who have sleep issues are more likely to drink and drive or take other risks than those who get the right amount of sleep. The CDC analyzed data from 50,370 high school students (grades 9–12) who participated in the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBSs) in 2007, 2009, 2011, or 2013. Students who got only five or six hours of sleep per night were twice as likely to say they had driven while drinking. Surprisingly, perhaps, this also turned out to be true for students who got ten or more hours of sleep each night.

About 70% of high school students report that they do not get sufficient sleep. Over the years, studies have shown links between insufficient sleep and automobile, sports, and workplace accidents.