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How Teenagers’ Lack of Sleep Is Taking a Toll on Their Mental Health

October 11, 2023 | 1 comment

How Teenagers’ Lack of Sleep Is Taking a Toll on Their Mental Health

Ask students: What are some of the factors contributing to the sleep deprivation among American teenagers? Why is sleep so crucial for the mental health of teenagers?

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Research has found that teenagers should be getting eight to ten hours of sleep every night. But many are sleeping far less than that and nearly one in four also suffer from insomnia. William Brangham reports on why it's so hard for so many teens to sleep, and why it's taking a toll on their mental health. It’s part of our ongoing series, Early Warnings: America’s Youth Mental Health Crisis.

For a transcript to read alongside as you watch the video, click here.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  • What are some of the factors contributing to the sleep deprivation among American teenagers?
  • Where is the connection between technology use and sleep loss in teenagers?
  • When did California make a change in public high school start times?
  • Why is sleep so crucial for the mental health of teenagers?
  • How do experts suggest parents can help their teens get more sleep?

Focus Questions

Do you think you get enough sleep? If not, what steps do you think you can take to try to get more sleep? What are some of the effects on your physical and mental health? Did you agree with details from the story about what you could do to get better sleep?

Media literacy : Where can you go if you are struggling with mental health?

Extension Activity

Discuss with a friend, neighbor or classmate — in your opinion, what do you think parents/guardians need to do to take steps to prioritize and improve the sleep and mental well being of teenagers? Do you think schools and local/state government has a supportive role to play here? Explain.

Lesson Plans for Digital Citizenship and Safety

Foster digital literacy and safety online and explore the algorithmic biases that can cause direct harm to young people online.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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Eric Civault
Eric Civault October 12, 2023, 9:16 pm

I understand this because I also have insomnia, and most of the time I only sleep for three to four hours. It is very difficult to sleep, and it has affected my health.
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