The magazine article, 'School demands cause sleep-deprived teens' comprehensively addresses the harmful adolescent health issue of sleep deprivation. The main concepts of this issue outlined in relation to Australian teenagers are -

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                                                                                    Edward Chan  10C   10/4/06                        

James Ruse Agricultural High School – Year 10 PD/H/PE Assignment

Adolescent Health Issues

Article: ‘School demands cause sleep-deprived teens’ (Choice Health Reader, December 2005)

Part A:  Give a brief account of the major points the writer is raising.

        The magazine article, ‘School demands cause sleep-deprived teens’ comprehensively addresses the harmful adolescent health issue of sleep deprivation. The main concepts of this issue outlined in relation to Australian teenagers are –

  • Research has shown that adolescents are the most sleep-deprived group in society today.
  • Teenagers from 13 to 18 years of age require an average 9 hours 15 minutes of sleep every night for physical and psychological refreshment.
  • Study has shown, however, that 26% of teenage students reported having only 6½ hours sleep or less.  
  • There are two types of adolescent sleep patterns –
  • ‘morning’ types who wake early and sleep early
  • ‘evening’ types who prefer to go to bed later and sleep in until later
  • The majority of teenagers are ‘evening’ types. This is a major cause of sleep deprivation as adolescents try to keep up with their commitments leading to increasingly later bedtimes.
  • The average teenage student gets about 2 hours less sleep a night during school terms than the acceptable amount of 9 hours 12 minutes in the holidays.
  • Social factors - school demands, homework, extra-curricula activities, social and family commitments and part-time work - have been identified as the cause for reduction in adolescent normal sleep-times.
  • The effects of sleep deprivation, reported by adolescence during the school term are –
  • lower moods
  • problems waking up
  • daytime sleepiness
  • difficulties with concentration and attention
  • clumsiness
  • irritability and difficulty controlling emotions
  • impairment of daytime functioning
  • lower grades
  • sleeping problems – eg. difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep
  • Effects of sleep deprivation are worse for ‘evening’ style adolescents
  • Some researches believe chronically short and erratic sleep may be linked to the depressive symptoms in adolescents.

Part B:  Write an essay discussing the issue, the impact it has on adolescents and the                    wider society and give your opinion regarding the topic.


        Sleep deprivation in teenagers is an increasingly significant concern of adolescent health with multiple studies identifying them as the most sleep-deprived group in society today. This is directly associated with the continued growth of social commitments and expectations that has reached unrealistic levels from the high demands during the school term. Such include keeping up with homework, extra-curricula activities, family, part-time work, and other school and social demands that place teenagers most at risk of insufficient sleep and disrupted sleep patterns. Adolescents need more sleep than they are usually able to obtain during term time and suffer those detrimental effects on mood and daytime functioning as a result of accumulating sleep deficits. Speculations have even been made to link depression to sleep deprivation. Increasing the risk of adolescent traffic accidents, injuries and behavioural and emotional problems, the wider society is also extensively affected by this health issue. Yet, sleep deprivation in today’s teenagers is surprisingly a most neglected area of adolescent health.

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        During the school term, a majority of Australian adolescents ‘average more than an hour less sleep on weeknights than during holidays’, as a result of unrealistically high social and educational demands. For teenagers from 13 to 18 years of age, an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes of sleep a night is essential for physical and psychological refreshment; the biological need for sleep increases for adolescents, particularly in puberty. It is of concern, however, that a 2003  Victorian study has found 26% of students reported only having 6½ hours of sleep or less, with the average sleep time during ...

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