-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep-deprived teens are at
increased risk of getting hit by a vehicle while crossing the
street, researchers warn.
The new study included 55 teens, aged 14 and 15, whose ability
to cross a street safely was tested in a virtual-reality setting in
the Youth Safety Lab at the University of Alabama at
Teens whose sleep was restricted to four hours the night before
the test took more time to begin crossing a street, crossed with
less time before contact with vehicles and had more close calls
than those who slept for eight and a half hours. Four hours of
sleep is half the amount considered adequate for 14- and
The sleep-deprived teens averaged 2.2 close calls or hits by
vehicles on 25 of the simulated street crossings, compared with
1.42 close calls or hits for those who had an adequate amount of
sleep, according to the study, which was published Sept. 3 in the
Journal of Adolescent Health.
The findings suggest that teens' ability to cross the street
safely can be compromised after only one night of too little sleep,
said study author Aaron Davis, a psychology post-doctoral fellow in
the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health program at the
"It is easy to discount the idea that this loss of sleep could have a significant impact if it occurs rarely, but this study demonstrates that adolescents' safety could be put at risk after just one night of inadequate sleep," Davis said in a university news release.
An estimated 8,000 teens aged 14 and 15 require medical
attention for pedestrian-related injuries each year in the United
States, according to background information in the news
Study co-author David Schwebel, director of the Youth Safety
Lab, said the study "demonstrates the importance of sleep for human
functioning. Our results show clearly that insufficient sleep
influences adolescent safety; without sufficient sleep, they are
inattentive, distractible and poor decision-makers."
The American College of Emergency Physicians has more about
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