Why Teens Might Get Too Little Sleep

Many adolescents may be sleeping less than recommended

(RxWiki News) Teens may be getting less sleep than older generations did when they were adolescents, according to a new study.

And it might be because of smartphones, this study suggested.

Looking at nationally representative data from more than 360,000 adolescents in the United States, this study found that, in 2015, around 40 percent of adolescents got less than seven hours of sleep each night. That's a 58 percent increase from adolescents in 1991 and around 17 percent more than in 2009. Current recommendations say teens need around nine hours of sleep each night, according to the authors of this study.

These researchers also found that the more time adolescents spent on the internet, the less sleep they got.

"Teens' sleep began to shorten just as the majority started using smartphones," said lead study author Dr. Jean Twenge, of San Diego State University, in a press release. "It's a very suspicious pattern."

Past research has found that the light from smartphones and similar devices may interfere with sleep. The study authors suggested limiting tablet and smartphone use to two hours per day to leave an adequate amount of time for proper sleep, which is good advice for any age group. 

If you are having trouble sleeping, speak with your health care provider.

This study was published in the journal Sleep Medicine.

Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

Review Date: 
October 22, 2017