By Shana Potash, Staff Writer, NLM
Nodding off in school may not be the only outcome for otherwise healthy teens who don't get enough sleep. A recent study links poor sleep in teens (ages 13 to 16 years old) to higher blood pressure. Researchers found that teens who got less than 6 ½ hours sleep were 2 ½ times more likely to have elevated blood pressure than teens who slept longer. Also, teens who had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep were 3 ½ times more likely to have high blood pressure or pre-high blood pressure than teens who slept well. These results are similar to findings from other studies in adults. High blood pressure, if left untreated, can increase the risk of stroke and heart diseases later in life.
The research study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute was conducted by a team at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
For more information, visit www.medlineplus.gov and type "sleep" in the search box.
School-aged children and teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night
Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night
Set a sleep schedule; going to bed and waking up the same times each day
Keep room temperature on the cool side
A TV or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction