Sleep-deprived teens are at greater risk for health-behavioral problems

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Adolescents who get six hours of sleep or less may face health and behavior issues, particularly those who get five hours of sleep per night on a regular basis, confirms FIU researcher and criminal justice professor Ryan C. Meldrum in his study that recently published in Preventive Medicine.

"Studies typically examine the implications of getting anything less than eight hours of sleep at night. What I wanted to investigate was whether there might be differences in the consequences of sleep deprivation depending on the severity of such deprivations," says Meldrum, co-author of the study. "In other words, I wanted to know if getting six or seven hours of sleep at night really places teens at risk for problematic health and behavior outcomes, or whether the impact of sleep deprivation is confined to teens at the extreme who average less than six hours of sleep at night."

In the study for which more than 12,000 teens were surveyed, Meldrum links extreme sleep deprivation to 12 outcomes ranging from obesity, substance use, drunk driving and even suicidal tendencies.

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