Magazine article Work & Family Life

Night-Owl Teenagers Need More Sleep

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Night-Owl Teenagers Need More Sleep

Article excerpt

Most American teenagers fall asleep after 1 1 pm, yet many of them are up by 6 to get to school on time. New research suggests that their schoolwork may be suffering.

"These kids may be up and at school, but I'm convinced their brains are back on the pillow at home," says Brown University sleep specialist Mary A. Carskadon, Ph.D. Her study of 3, 000 teens found that high school students who got poor grades slept on average 25 minutes less and went to bed 40 minutes later than those who got A's and B's.

Sleep deprivation has an impact on learning. Dr. Carskadon explains that if students are not awake enough to take in new information, their knowledge acquisition will be impaired and their ability to retrieve information reduced - because what's learned during the day gets consolidated during sleep.

She adds that "catching up on the weekends" may further distort a child's biological clock and make it even harder to get up on time during the school week.

One study found more than 90 percent of teenagers reported sleeping less than 9 hours a night, and 10 percent slept less than 6 hours. …

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