Ask any parent of a teen and they are likely to admit that their teens are not getting enough sleep.  Busy schedules, hormonal surges, and new found independence combine for some sleepless - or at sleep deficient - nights for many teens.  But a new study has found that the situation may be even more dire for some teens than for others.

According to a study recently published in the journal for the American Academy of Pediatrics, African American high school students and boys from low- to middle-income families had shorter and more fragmented sleep than their peers - a situation that over time could significantly impact their overall health.

For the study, researchers collected sleep data from 250 students from western Pennsylvania, ages 14 to 19.  The students were asked to keep a sleep diary and wear a sleep monitor.  Researchers found that in general, the teens got about six hours of sleep each. That's a few hours short of the eight to nine hours of sleep recommended for teenagers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Interestingly, the teens reported sleeping for more time in their diaries - closer to 6.8 hours per night than they actually getting according to their monitors.

The study found that of all of the subgroups, "black male adolescents may be the demographic most vulnerable to the negative consequences of inadequate sleep,” the researchers noted.  Overall, African American teens and boys from lower to middle income families clocked the least amount of sleep.  And most nights, this sleep was fragmented and fitful.  

Poor sleep has been linked to everything from hypertension to weight gain to depression.  Cognitive function is another system that suffers when sleep is insufficient.  So lack of sleep could affect everything from a teen's grades to his health to his relationships with others.  

And when that kind of affect is seen by one particular subgroup more than others, it's worriesome enough to lose sleep over.

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