We often think sleep issues are the purview of newborns. In truth, they represent a problem for many teens, whose late nights and early mornings leave them fatigued and sometimes in danger. For example, new driving research from SADD and Liberty Mutual Insurance reveals that teens report getting an average of only 7.2 hours of sleep on school nights — far less than the 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep recommended for them by the National Sleep Foundation.
Why is this dangerous? Insufficient sleep can be linked to a host of physiological and psychological problems. It is also a significant factor in automobile crashes. In fact, drowsy driving causes more than 10,000 crashes each year, leading to 40,000 injuries and more than 1,500 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The SADD/LMI data points out that teens who get less than eight hours of sleep per night on average are twice as likely to say they have fallen asleep at the wheel than are teens who report getting an average of at least eight hours of sleep per night.
Stephen’s new column, Cheating Sleep, discusses this issue in greater detail.