The effects of sleep deprivation have been studied for decades, and a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) focuses on the link to increased injuries in teen athletes who do not get enough sleep. Researchers pointed out that previous studies have focused on the adult population while neglecting the impact of sleep deprivation in teenagers.
The AAP Research
Research presented at the AAP conference revealed that teen athletes have a significant risk of injury due to lack of sleep. The study found that "eight or more hours" of sleep led to a "68 percent" reduction in the possibility of injuries among the young athletes. The researchers found that characteristics like gender or private coaches did not have the same impact as sleep deprivation. It is important to note that the study found that older teens in higher grade levels had more injuries.
Previous Sleep Research
Scientists have been aware of the various effects of sleep deprivation on the human body for years, so the link to a higher incidence of injuries is not surprising. A lack of sleep has been tied to memory issues, confusion, headaches and other problems. Sleep deprivation is famous for reducing reaction times while increasing irritability.
The impact of inadequate sleep times has been studied extensively in adults and has resulted in research dedicated to minor details related to various professions. For example, a paper from 2004 focused on sleep deprivation in part-time Kentucky farmers. Inadequate sleep has also been studied in children, and a paper from 2008 found a strong link in its study sample. However, teen athletes have been neglected in many of the previous reports, so the research presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has attempted to fix this.
Sleep deprivation in young athletes is one area that is not difficult to amend. The National Sleep Foundation has found that teenagers need 9.25 hours of sleep per night and has actually recommended that schools change their start times to accommodate this. Although school districts are not listening to the advice, teen athletes must change their schedule to reduce the risk of injury.
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Lana has a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry. She is an avid athlete, youth coach and follows several sports. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.
- sleep deprivation
- American Academy of Pediatrics