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`It's a school night' losing its power

April 03, 2006|From Times wire reports

Only 20% of America's adolescents get the recommended nine hours of shut-eye on school nights, and more than 1 in 4 report sleeping in class, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation.

School-age children and teens need at least nine hours of sleep a day, according to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health.

But the poll, released Tuesday, finds that sixth-graders are sleeping an average of 8.4 hours on school nights, whereas 12th-graders sleep just 6.9 hours, two hours less than recommended.

The Sleep Foundation poll interviewed 1,602 adult caregivers and their children age 11 to 17. It had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

Among the findings:

* About 28% of high school students said they fall asleep in class at least once a week, 22% have dozed off doing homework and 14% have arrived late or miss school because they overslept.

* About half of adolescent drivers -- 51% -- have driven while drowsy in the last year.

* Eighty percent of students who get the recommended amount of sleep are achieving A's and Bs in school, whereas those who get less sleep are more likely to get lower grades.

* More than one-quarter -- 28% -- of adolescents say they're too tired to exercise.

* Only 20% said they get nine hours of sleep on school nights, and 45% reported sleeping for less than eight hours.

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