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A good night’s sleep is a distant dream for many teens, as new research shows the average duration of slumber among U.S. adolescents has collectively slipped during the past 20 years.
The problem is worse among teenage girls than boys, according to a study published online Monday in Pediatrics, a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Scientists at Columbia University and colleagues dub this decline “the Great Sleep Recession.” They analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey of more than 270,000 American adolescents from 1991 to 2012. Participants were asked how often they get seven or more hours of sleep a night.
“Results indicate that compared to boys, girls are less likely to report regularly getting seven or more hours of sleep, as are black or Hispanic adolescents and those with lower parental education,” according to a statement by the authors.
What’s fueling the groggy trend isn’t completely clear, scientists said. They speculate the rise of the Internet and social media are factors. Lack of healthy sleep is linked to issues with mental health, academics, substance abuse and weight gain. The National Sleep Foundation suggests teens 14-17 get eight to 10 hours of restorative sleep nightly.