26 Jan Majority of Middle and High School Students Do Not Get Enough Sleep on School Nights
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Population Health
Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Insufficient sleep among children and adolescents is associated with an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and attention and behavior problems.
In previous reports, CDC had found that, nationwide, approximately two thirds of U.S. high school students report sleeping <8 hours per night on school nights. CDC conducted this study to provide state-level estimates of short sleep duration on school nights among middle school and high school students using age-specific recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). AASM has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours for optimal health.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Using data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, we found that 57.8% of middle school students in 9 states and 72.7% of high school students nationally get less than the recommended hours of sleep for good health, putting them at an increased risk for several chronic conditions. State-level estimates of short sleep duration among middle school students ranged from 50.2% (New Mexico) to 64.7% (Kentucky). State-level estimates of short sleep duration among high school students for the 30 states that conducted the high school YRBS and included a question about sleep duration in their questionnaire ranged from 61.8% (South Dakota) to 82.5% (West Virginia).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The finding that a majority of middle school and high school students do not get enough sleep on school nights provides an opportunity for promoting sleep health in schools, including addition of sleep health to curricula, and delaying school start times to permit students adequate time for sleep.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: One potential area for future research has to do with sleep education. Other researchers have found that school-based sleep education programs increase the amount of sleep students get immediately after completion of the programs, but that improvements are often not maintained at follow-up. Researchers could investigate how to maintain the benefits of these programs, such as the effectiveness of refresher courses or incorporation of parent education.
Short Sleep Duration Among Middle School and High School Students — United States, 2015
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