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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health


Catch Your ZZZZZs!

A teenager falling asleep.

Photo: iStock

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 and type "sleep" in the search box.

Sleep Facts:

School-aged children and teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night

Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night

Sleep Tips:

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

Fall 2008 Issue: Volume 3 Number 4 Page 27