Many parents are constantly harping on their kids to get more sleep. Well, it appears those parents may be on to something.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released a new report that claims sleep-deprived teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that could lead to accidents, injuries…..even death.
“The study found that teens who get less than seven hours of sleep on school nights were more likely to engage in risky behaviors — such as texting and driving, drinking and driving, riding with a driver who was drinking, and not wearing a seat belt in a car or a helmet while on a bicycle — than teens who sleep nine hours a night.“It was rather surprising to find such an impact of short sleep duration on these injury-related behaviors and suggests that sleep deprivation may play an important role in poor judgment and decision-making among adolescents,” said Janet Croft, chief of the epidemiology and surveillance branch of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC.
According to PBS Newshour, “if we look at the data for teens that got nine hours of sleep, almost 5 percent reported that they had driven drunk in the previous month, and if you went down to, they only got six hours of sleep, that doubled to 10 percent. And then if they reported four or fewer hours of sleep, it went all the way up to 17 percent.”
So, the likelihood of driving drunk more than tripled among the most sleep deprived teens. Those are eye catching statistics. And while this CDC study focused on high school students, a story in the Huffington Post pointed out that a lack of sleep can lead to problems in college as well.
…..previous research has suggested that college students who don’t get enough sleep are also more likely to drink and drive as well as partake in other risky behaviors like smoking, binge drinking and having sex under the influence.
Here’s the kicker. A lack of sleep among teens isn’t the exception….it’s the rule. The study found that almost 70 percent were getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. Doctors often advise against TVs, computers, and cell phones close to bedtime. But is that enough? And in today’s world…..is that even possible?
Share your thoughts on how we can help our teens get more sleep. Clearly, it won’t be easy – but it is necessary if we truly hope to find new ways to promote better health. Working together to find innovative solutions to today’s health challenges will also help us take another step toward our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!