Teens sleeping fewer hours: study

New York – Teens are getting less sleep now than they did 20 years ago, according to a recent study from Columbia University.

For the study, more than 270,000 students in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades from 1991 to 2012 reported how often they slept at least seven hours.

Researchers found that students who were female, racial/ethnic minorities and of lower socioeconomic status were less likely to regularly sleep seven or more hours per night.

The largest decline in amount of sleep occurred among 15-year-olds. In 2012, 63 percent said they regularly slept at least seven hours per night, a drop from 72 percent in 1991.

Decreasing sleep among teens is “concerning,” and health education might be needed, researchers concluded.

The study’s lead researcher said in a press release that causes of decreasing sleep are unknown, but increased use of the Internet and competitiveness for college admission might be factors.

The Arlington, VA-based National Sleep Foundation recommends teens get eight to 10 hours of sleep.

The study was published online Feb. 16 in the journal Pediatrics.