26-Feb-15 12:00 PM  CST

New Study Shows Sleep Deprivation is High Among Americans, Especially Teenagers

Sleep. It is something many of us yearn for and most of us do not get enough of. A new study in the journal Pediatrics confirms this hypothesis even more, and teenagers seem to be the most affected group. The study, which was conducted at Columbia University ‘s Mailman School of Public Health, followed 270 teenagers in grades 8, 10 and 12, and found that between the years of 1991 and 2012 the amount of sleep a teenager gets was steadily on the decline. In fact the decline in sleep has been so sharp health professionals and researchers have taken to calling it, “The Great Sleep Recession”.

According to the study conducted at Columbia University most teenagers, on average, are getting about 7 hours of sleep a night. Researchers state that this is about 3 hours less than the 8-10 hours recommended for teens between the ages of 14-17 and approximately 2 hours less than the 7-9 hours recommended for young adults ages, 18-25. Studies have proven that a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and slow reaction times.

Although the reason why there has been such a sharp drop in the hours of sleep our teenagers may be getting may still be a bit of mystery, it is believed some of the blame may belong to the Internet. Increased use of the Internet and social media can heighten the brain making it difficult for many to fall asleep. Additionally an Australian study found that children who nap after the age of 2 are at a greater risk for poor sleep habits. The Australian study found no evidence to suggest that napping after the age of 2 translates to better sleep habits later in life.

Some tricks for falling asleep and staying asleep health professionals recommend include getting into a habit. When it comes to sleep routine is better. Other suggestions for falling asleep include, lowering the temperature of the bedroom to 65 degrees or less, relaxing the muscles in your toes, and even visualizing a beautiful place.




Columbia University, (2015) “Teens increasingly sleep deprived” Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, http://www.mailman.columbia.edu/news/teens-increasingly-sleep-deprived, retrieved 21. February, 2015


Goldschmidt, D., (2015) “ The great American sleep recession”CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/18/health/great-sleep-recession/index.html, retrieved, 21.January 2015

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Kelley Simmons
Source: Sandy Andrews, CPhT, BLS  

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