Anyone who contends with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder knows that more often than not, sleep problems are part of the picture. Around 75 percent of children and adults with ADHD also struggle with sleep problems as well. There are many different reasons for this.

But a new report has just sent a wake-up call across the United States after its publication (Jan. 26, 2018) by epidemiologist Anne Wheaton at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirming that most American teens are not getting enough sleep – not just those with ADHD. Not getting enough sleep can hurt school performance and create a serious risk to health.

“This is the first report to provide state-level estimates of short sleep duration among middle school and high school students using age-specific recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine,” Wheaton wrote in her summary. “A majority of both middle school and high school students in states and large urban school districts included in this report get less than the recommended amount of sleep, putting them at an increased risk for several chronic conditions.”

The report, Short Sleep Duration Among Middle School and High School Students – United States, 2015, notes that nearly 58 percent of middle school students in nine states and almost 73 percent of high school students across the United States do not get the recommended amount of sleep. Nationwide, approximately two thirds of U.S. high school students report sleeping less than eight hours a night on school nights.

Children and adolescents who do not get the recommended amount of sleep for their age are at increased risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and poor mental health, as well as injuries, attention and behavioral problems, and poor academic performance,” Wheaton said.

“In addition, short sleep duration has been found to be associated with engaging in health- and injury-related risk behaviors among high school students.”

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, children aged 6 to 12 need nine to 10 hours of sleep a night, while teenagers aged 13 to 18 should get at least eight hours per night, the report added.

Wheaton said studies have shown that teens whose bedtimes were set by their parents get more sleep than those who don’t. She suggested a media curfew, or removing technology from the bedroom.

“School districts can also support adequate sleep among students by implementing delayed school start times as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine,” the report added.

Tips for Better Sleep
Good sleep habits (sometimes referred to as “sleep hygiene”) can help one get a good night’s sleep.   Some habits that can improve sleep health:

  • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
  • Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help one fall asleep more easily at night.

For more information on healthy sleep, go to

Photo: Pixabay / Corrine Harleman