Insufficient sleep in adolescents and young adults: an update on causes and consequences

Pediatrics. 2014 Sep;134(3):e921-32. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-1696.


Chronic sleep loss and associated sleepiness and daytime impairments in adolescence are a serious threat to the academic success, health, and safety of our nation's youth and an important public health issue. Understanding the extent and potential short- and long-term repercussions of sleep restriction, as well as the unhealthy sleep practices and environmental factors that contribute to sleep loss in adolescents, is key in setting public policies to mitigate these effects and in counseling patients and families in the clinical setting. This report reviews the current literature on sleep patterns in adolescents, factors contributing to chronic sleep loss (ie, electronic media use, caffeine consumption), and health-related consequences, such as depression, increased obesity risk, and higher rates of drowsy driving accidents. The report also discusses the potential role of later school start times as a means of reducing adolescent sleepiness.

Keywords: adolescents; caffeine; car crashes; media use; obesity; sleep loss; sleepiness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Caffeine / adverse effects
  • Communications Media / trends
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Deprivation / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Caffeine