Like toothpaste and orange juice, teenagers and 6 a.m. usually make for a bad morning combination. Between the threats of missed buses to the walking dead shuffle from the bedroom to the bathroom, mornings can seem like a nightmare for many households with teens. But with so many sleep-deprived teenagers staying awake until all hours of the night, this dreaded morning ritual comes as no surprise to most parents.
If your teenager is constantly staying up too late and is hard to mobilize in the morning, at least you’re not alone. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that two third of American teens aren’t getting enough sleep. This may not surprise many parents, but the study’s real take home message is that researchers are now linking sleep deprivation to something far more troubling than morning crankiness: Teens who get less than eight hours of sleep a night may be more likely to drink, use drugs, indulge in inappropriate sexual behavior, be depressed and lead an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. …
Robert Vorona, MD, a sleep medicine specialist at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk VA, recently conducted a study that found an association between car accidents involving teen drivers and early high school start times.
Vorona’s research team found that in Virginia Beach, where high school classes began at 7:20 a.m., there were 65.4 automobile crashes for every 1,000 teen drivers. In the adjacent town of Chesapeake, where high school start times averaged 8:40 a.m., there were only 46.2 crashes for every 1,000 teen drivers. In both cities, the peak incidence of crashes with teen drivers was immediately after schools let out in the afternoon.