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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Teenagers 'need long lie ins'
Teenagers need more sleep than adults
A study by scientists in the US has given every teenager the perfect excuse to sleep late at weekends.

Research carried out at Northwestern University in Illinois has found that teenagers need extra sleep at the weekend to catch up on hours lost during the week.

They also suggest that failing to have long lie-ins could lead to behavioural problems and poor academic results.

Many adolescents experience partial sleep deprivation

Dr Kathryn Reid, Northwestern University
The results, presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Denver on Friday, show that young people sleep on average 8.5 hours on weekdays and more than 9.5 on weekends.

Sleeping longer

Dr Kathryn Reid studied the sleeping habits of 729 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 who were admitted to a local juvenile temporary detention centre.

In line with previous studies, she found that older teenagers were more likely to go to sleep late and wake up late.

But she also discovered that they slept longer than other researchers have suggested.

Half of the group also complained about being tired during the day - supporting previous conclusions that many teenagers may suffer from sleep deprivation.

Dr Reid said: "Previous research has indicated that sleep-wake habits of teenagers vary from those of adults and younger children, and that many adolescents experience partial sleep deprivation."

Cultural differences

But Prof Chris Idzikowski, of the British Sleep Society, said more research was needed.

He added that cultural differences between the US and other countries, including the UK - such as earlier school starts - meant the findings of studies carried out there did not always apply elsewhere.

He said: "There are major cultural differences between countries. It you compare Italy, Japan and the UK with the US, for example, it is striking how different school start times are and how education is organised."

But he added: "Certainly, it is something to stop and think about."

See also:

14 Feb 02 | Health
Too much sleep 'is bad for you'
25 Apr 01 | Health
Sleep 'helps brain work'
15 Aug 00 | Health
Sleep linked to ageing
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