Sleep Deprived Teenagers Could Have Problems With Memory, Growth Patterns And More, Study Says

More than half of all teenagers may be sleep deprived, according to a new study from Oxford University.

It’s become common knowledge that teenagers need at least nine hours of sleep each night in order to function properly, and its also common knowledge that many teenagers don’t get it.

According to BBC News, a combination of natural hormone changes and greater use of screen based technology means many teenagers are not getting enough sleep.

Russell Foster, Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at Oxford University stated, “Sleep is fundamentally important but despite this it’s been largely ignored as part of our biology.”

“Within the context of teenagers, here we have a classic example where sleep could enhance enormously the quality of life and, indeed, the educational performance of our young people.

“Yet they’re given no instruction about the importance of sleep and sleep is a victim to the many other demands that are being made of them.”

Yes, things such as hormonal changes can and do play a major factor in teen’s sleep patterns.

BBC News stated that research has shown that teenagers naturally veer towards later bedtimes and are later to rise in the morning, possibly because of the hormonal changes that occur during puberty.

Researchers are also blaming things such as video games as to why teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep.

Foster stated that electronic equipment accentuated this natural “night-owl” behavior.

He went on to explain, stating the following:

“The data that’s emerging suggests that these computer screens and gaming devices may well have a big effect in increasing levels of alertness.

“That will make it harder to get to sleep after you’ve stopped playing.

“The great problem with teenagers is that you’re not only biologically programmed to go to bed late and get up late, but there’s also many attractions like gaming and Facebook and texting and many teenagers are doing this into the early hours of the morning and delaying sleep even further.”

Studies by Psychologist Jane Ansell have suggested that 52 percent of teenagers were sleep deprived, according to BBC News.

MSN Now reported that sleep deprivation could affect their memories, their growth patterns and their in-school performance.

Ansell suggests that, “If you don’t have enough sleep your short term memory doesn’t consolidate into your long term memory which is going to affect your school grades.”

She also told BBC News that sleep deprivation could affect teenager’s growth.

So are teenagers totally to blame for being sleep deprived? When it comes to biology and hormones, no, they can’t control that.

But if it’s their obsession with technology and gaming, then teenagers are to blame for their sleep deprivation! So put down that smartphone and just go to bed already!

[Image via Shutterstock/George Dolgikh]