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Time Change Can Affect Teen Safety

teens driving

HealthDay News

TUESDAY, Sept. 8, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Teens lose much-needed sleep after the time change in spring, raising concerns about their driving safety, a new study shows.

This loss of sleep was associated with increased daytime sleepiness, lapses of attention and longer reaction times, according to the findings in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

"For many years now, sleep researchers have been concerned about sleep deprivation in adolescents. This study unveils a potential additional factor that may further restrict their sleep in the early spring," principal investigator Dr. Ana Krieger said in a journal news release. She is medical director of the Weill Cornell Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Researchers assessed sleep in 35 high school students, average age 16.5 years, on weeknights after the change to daylight savings time in March. The teens slept an average of 7 hours, 19 minutes a night, which was 32 minutes less than before the time change.

Teens should get a little more than nine hours of sleep a night, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

"Getting adequate sleep is key for many facets of an adolescent's development," Dr. Nathaniel Watson, academy president, said in the news release. "This study raises significant concern about the consequences of impeding their already hectic sleep schedules with Daylight Saving Time every spring."

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, news release, Sept. 8, 2015

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