Center for Injury Research and Prevention

"Catch Up" Sleep for Teens May Reduce Crash Risk

May 28, 2013
Sleepy teen

Our Colleagues from the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia recently published a study in JAMA Pediatrics that demonstrates it’s worth it to let your teen sleep in on weekends. Drowsy driving is a common cause of crashes involving teen drivers. Early school start times and after school activities can cut into precious sleep time required by adolescents, who need about 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours of sleep a night.

The study of drivers 17 to 24 years of age showed that having only six hours of sleep a night was enough to increase relative crash risk for adolescent drivers. Those drivers who had less sleep on weekends were also at increased risk for run-off-road crashes. The crashes involving drivers with six or fewer hours of sleep were most likely to occur between 8 pm and 6 am.

Flaura Winston, CIRP@CHOP’s scientific director and founder, was asked to comment on the study for a Health Day article and provided practical advice for parents: let your teen sleep in on weekends and provide rides when you know your teen is tired. She also provided advice for policy: consider later school start times for high schools.

**Like what you’ve read? Subscribe to Research in Action to have the latest in child injury prevention delivered to your inbox.**