Teenagers have busy school and social calendars, and this can lead to late nights and early mornings. When sleep is put to the bottom of the priority list, teens’ health and safety can suffer. This is why the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project has launched the “ Sleep Recharges You” campaign, urging teens to get eight to 10 hours of sleep per night to promote optimal health. When well-rested, teens are more likely to be healthy and energetic with a positive attitude toward life in general — helping them to be their best and do their best in school. 
 
Lack of sleep means real risks for teens’ academic performance, health and well-being
 
More than two-thirds of high school students in the U.S. are failing to get enough sleep on school nights, according to a 2016 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Results show that 69 percent of surveyed students in grades 9 to 12 reported sleeping less than eight hours on an average school night. Insufficient sleep in teens can impact everything from grades to safety.
 
Sleepy teens may fare worse in school than their well-rested peers. Studies have shown that teens who are sleep deprived may be more easily distracted and recall information more slowly. Sleeping fewer than the recommended hours also is associated with attention, behavior and learning problems.
 
Lack of sleep may impact teens’ athletic performance. When teens sleep, hormones are released that help them grow taller and develop muscles. Sleep also helps restore energy to the brain and body.
 
Teens who lack sufficient sleep also face dire health and behavioral consequences. Studies show that teens who sleep less than eight hours nightly are more likely to be overweight and develop hypertension and diabetes. Additionally, insufficient sleep in teenagers has been found to increase the risk of depression and is associated with increased risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
 
Insufficient sleep also significantly increases teens’ risk for drowsy driving accidents. A recent survey by Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Liberty Mutual Insurance found that more than half of licensed teens (56 percent) admit to having driven when feeling too tired to drive their best, and nearly one in 10 teens report that they have completely fallen asleep at the wheel. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., according to the CDC.
 
Parents, caregivers play crucial role  
 
Teens should be encouraged to make sure they get enough sleep every night to recharge. The AASM advises parents and caregivers to help by modeling healthy sleep habits, promoting a consistent sleep schedule and creating a quiet sleep environment for their teens.
 
Additionally, setting restrictions on screen time before bed is key to helping teens get to sleep on time. Teens may be tempted to keep using laptops, smartphones and game consoles late into the night rather than going to sleep.
 
Official consensus
 
The AASM recommends that teens between 13 and 18 years of age should sleep eight to 10 hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
 
This recommendation  was released by the AASM in June, following a 10-month project conducted by a Pediatric Consensus Panel of 13 of the nation’s foremost sleep experts, and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Sleep Research Society and the American Association of Sleep Technologists. The expert panel reviewed 864 published scientific articles addressing the relationship between sleep duration and health in children, evaluated the evidence using a formal grading system and arrived at the final recommendation after multiple rounds of voting.
 
Parents who are concerned that their teen is sleeping too little or too much should consult a board-certified sleep medicine physician. Visit www.sleepeducation.org to find an accredited sleep center nearby.