Dr. Alanna Levine: Why aren't teens getting the recommended nine hours of sleep per night that they need? First of all, adolescents are biologically programmed to stay awake until 11 PM. Pair that with easy access to late-night multimedia technology, and early school start times, and you get teenagers who are spending their waking hours tired. So what do they do? They enjoy a cup of coffee to stay awake, or worse yet, a caffeinated energy drink.
A new study in the June issue of Pediatrics titled, "Adolescents Living the 24/7 Lifestyle: Effects of Caffeine and Technology on Sleep Duration and Daytime Functioning," found that caffeine coupled with late-night computer use, text messaging, and TV viewing is contributing to their daytime fatigue. This lack of sleep has previously been linked to mood disorders, obesity, decreased cognition, and a lowered sense of overall well-being.
|Dr. Alanna Levine is a pediatrician in private practice and on staff at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where she attends high risk deliveries and cares for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She is a national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and frequently appears on television as a medical expert. Dr. Levine lives in New York with her husband and their two children.|