Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sleep duration in American teens

On the heels of last week's post about new sleep duration recommendations, this post is about an article in the journal Pediatrics about the changes in sleep amounts among teens in the United States from 1991 to 2012. The participants were 270,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders involved in a larger survey. The researchers asked the participants two questions about sleep duration. One was how often they got less 7 hours or at least 7 hours of sleep. The other question was how often the teen felt they got enough sleep per week.

Epidemiological studies show that almost a third of teens don't get enough sleep. The reasons are not known, but researchers speculate that internet, social media, and increased competitiveness of the college admissions process are contributing. And, in last week's blog, I posted a table that recommends 8-10 hrs per night for 14-17 year olds.

The results of the current study showed that self-reported sleep duration in teens has decreased over the past 20 years. The largest decrease was in 15 year olds. Although the data show that sleep duration declined across all age groups and major socio-demographic subgroups, results showed that female students, racial/ethnic minorities, and students of lower socio-economic status (SES) reported getting at least 7 hours of sleep less often than male subjects, non-Hispanic white subjects, and students of higher SES.

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