Friends: The Culprit Behind Teen's Lack of Sleep


Walking into class with your hair disheveled and school supplies in havoc. Another night of little sleep and your body is punishing you for it. However, are you not the one to blame? Studies show that "social ties" may be the culprit behind your lack of sleep. 

Conducted at the University of Cincinnati, researchers wanted to discover the real reason behind teenager's sleep deprivation. Their hypothesis: social ties affect teenager's sleeping habits.  Therefore our null hypothesis: social ties have no affect on teenager's sleeping habits. Scientists sought answers by gathering a group of 1,000 teens ranging from the ages 12-15 of the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. The study measured each individual teen's cognitive, physical and social development-yet primarily focused on their sleep record as well. 

What they found was appalling. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers need a total of 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night (Teens and Sleep,National Sleep Foundation). Scientists measured teens between the ages 12-15 were getting less than 8 hours of sleep each night. 

So where does this apply to the teen's social ties? In search of the reason behind teenager's decline in sleep, researchers found that their relationship with parents and peers is the contributing factor to their lack of sleep. Scientists concluded that teen's with parents who strictly observe how late they stay up, get better hours of sleep. Teens who also get the appropriate hours of sleep were ones who cared about their school work and had friends who did as well. Researchers wrapped up their field of study with one last piece of advise, "Having strong social networks of people who are positive and have good social habits themselves may encourage traits like getting to bed on time" (Sifferlin,TIME). 

However, where was this conclusion derived from? The article in TIME lacked to include any results or tests that led researchers to believe that social ties were the reason behind teen's tired bodies. The study at Cincinnati was clearly Observational, and found its results from the record log kept by the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. I do understand that it may be hard to make this field of study experimental, however I think a survey created by the researchers themselves and distributed among teens may be more affective.

Researchers accepted their hypothesis that social ties affect teenager's sleeping habits. However, I don't know if I can do the same. Results would be more convincing if they were taken from multiple fields of study-not just one. That is the only error I can conclude. 

So all in all, we have reason to think social ties may be the reason behind teen's lack of sleep. However, I'm going to need further proof to solidify the hypothesis before accepting it myself. Good thing is, us PSU students don't have our friends to blame for our late nights, but our academics instead. 

So when your not up late cramming for the next exam, follow these tips to make up for your lost hours of sleep.

  1. Sifferlin, Alexandra, and Alexandra Sifferlin. "Why Teens Stay up Late: Blame Their Friends." Time. Time, 5 Dec. 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.
  2. "Teens and Sleep." Sleep for Teenagers. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
  3. "How to Sleep Better." : Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep. Help Guide, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.


I found it very amusing that they did a study on social ties causing lack of sleep. Just last night I tried to go to bed after doing my homework, but my friends insisted that I stay up and hangout with them for a few hours. I feel like this has happened to everyone at some point in their lives. After reading this post I looked into whether or not drinking habits had anything to do with the sleep schedules of students. The truth is even drinking one night a week can alter our sleep habits for a week! Check it out below

This is pretty cool since it is very relevant to most of us in college. I have always heard about the college pyramid where you could only choose two of the three things. One is social life, another is grades and the last one is sleep. I think that most people in college tend to pick social life and grade because they seem to be more important than to sleep. This may be a cause for this behavior in our age group or it may be something else. I would be interested in seeing if there was study done on people picking different things in the college pyramid and seeing the effects on the person.

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