I said it all throughout high school (and even did my senior exit project on the topic), that the schedules teenagers have do not allow them to get enough sleep. Many CMS high schools start at 7:15 am meaning students are waking up at 6 or even earlier. Factor that with homework, practices, clubs after school and at night. It’s no surprise that many teenagers are sleep-deprived. But does where you live to make you more or less likely to get enough sleep? There are definitely trends and North Carolina doesn’t stack up too well. Continue reading for the full list to see where NC ranks.
Being a teenager is never easy, but even in the years since I did that project, it’s gotten harder. It can seem almost impossible to enjoy happy and healthy adolescence. And due to many of these changes, the U.S. Surgeon General released a new advisory on youth mental health in late 2021. This draws attention to rising rates of depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and other mental health issues among young Americans.
These trends in youth mental health can be attributed in part to detrimental shifts in young people’s lifestyles over time, including increased academic stress, growing use of digital media, and worsening health habits. And one of the major potential culprits in the latter category is sleep.
According to the CDC, teenagers should sleep between 8–10 hours per 24 hour period. This level of sleep is associated with a number of better physical and mental health outcomes, including a lower risk of obesity and fewer problems with attention and behavior. Despite this, less than a quarter of teens report sleeping at least eight hours per day—a number that has fallen significantly over the last decade.
The data used in this analysis is from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), which surveys a representative sample of grade 9–12 students in U.S. schools. To determine the states where teens don’t sleep, researchers at ChamberOfCommerce.org calculated the percentage of high school students who reported getting eight hours of sleep on an average school night. In the event of a tie, the state with the larger share of students who spent at least three hours per day on a phone or computer (including video games) for non-school use was ranked higher.