Sleep deprivation may be undermining teen health

On any given school day, teen-agers across the nation stumble out of bed and prepare for the day. For most, the alarm clock buzzes by 6:30 a.m., a scant seven hours after they went to bed. Many students board the school bus before 7 a.m. and are in class by 7:30.

“Research has revealed an association between sleep deprivation and poorer grades. In a 1998 survey of more than 3,000 high-school students found that students who reported that they were getting C’s, D’s and F’s in school obtained about 25 minutes less sleep and went to bed about 40 minutes later than students who reported they were getting A’s and B’s.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota reported the results of a study of more than 7,000 high-school students whose school district had switched in 1997 from a 7:15 a.m. start time to an 8:40 a.m. start time. Compared with students whose schools maintained earlier start times, students with later starts reported getting more sleep on school nights, being less sleepy during the day, getting slightly higher grades and experiencing fewer depressive feelings and behaviors.”

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