Study: Teens May Need Less Sleep Than Previously Thought

National guidelines recommend at least eight hours of serious snooze time a night for young people. But that's an unrealistic goal for adolescents, who are overloaded with homework, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs, experts say. Or who feel the need to stay up late texting friends or updating Facebook.

In fact, if standardized test performance is any indication, 16-year-olds score best with about seven hours of sleep a night, surprising new research finds.

Brigham Young University economists Eric Eide and Mark Showalter -- who are also dads -- used a nationally representative sample of 1,724 students, comparing children's and teens' standardized test scores with the amount of sleep they reported.

For older teens, seven hours a night was plenty. The optimal amount of sleep for 12-year-olds was higher, about eight hours, while 10-year-olds did best with about nine hours. The report appears in the current issue of the Eastern Economics Journal.

Image: Sleeping teenage boy, via Shutterstock.

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