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Sleep Week on 11Alive: Teen sleep needs

11:06 AM, May 11, 2011   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Teens actually require more sleep than adults, but most of them get less.

"These days of sort of hypercommunication with Facebook and Twittering and texting and so forth, along with the other increased workload, staying up later for school, talking with your friends, that sort of thing, teenagers often get to sleep very late," said Dr. Michael Lacey with the Atlanta Sleep Medicine Clinic.

The consequences can be fatal.

"Drivers under the age of 25 make up 55 percent of traffic accidents caused by falling asleep," he said.

To add insult to injury, schools like Decatur City Schools want to start earlier, which means even less sleep time for teens.

"The notion that schools should be starting earlier is a very wrong-headed way to approach things," Dr. Lacey said. "If we want out students to perform optimally and to get back and forth to school safely when they're the ones that are driving, schools should start later and just go later."

Parents can help make sure teens are getting enough rest.

The Atlanta Sleep Medicine Clinics recommends

Making it a rule to have teens turn off the computer and T.V. by 10 p.m.

Limiting caffeine. Too much can interrupt sleep patterns,

Making sure they're exercising, which is imperative in keeping a regular sleep schedule.

All week long, the 11Alive morning team will bring you stories and solutions on sleep.

You can watch their Sleep Week stories live each weekday through Thursday at about 6:45 a.m. on 11Alive News Today and find them online at 11Alive.com/mornings.

For more details on sleep disorders and treatments, visit Atlanta Sleep Medicine Clinic's website.

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