Over 50 per cent of teenagers in the UK are not getting enough sleep.
Research by Oxford University has discovered sleep deprivation is rife for youngsters in school, with a natural change in hormone levels and increased usage of electronic devices identified as the main reasons for this, BBC News reports.
Teenagers are thought to need around nine hours of sleep a night in order to function properly and this is particularly important for those sitting GCSE exams. However, the study highlights how many school children cannot perform to the best of their ability due to sleepiness and this is something teachers need to keep their eyes on.
Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford University, noted the need for sleep is largely ignored despite the fact it is "fundamentally important".
"Within the context of teenagers, here we have a classic example where sleep could enhance enormously the quality of life and, indeed, the educational performance of our young people.
"Yet they're given no instruction about the importance of sleep and sleep is a victim to the many other demands that are being made of them," he added.
The rise in online gaming and social media is thought to be partly responsible for the issue, as increasing numbers of youngsters are spending time on these sites before they go to bed, or even when they are already in bed.
Professor Foster added the data shows how late night electronics use can boost alertness, which in turn makes it harder for children to drift off and secure a suitable amount of sleep.
Psychologist Jane Ansell has been coordinating some small-scale studies in schools and she found 20 per cent of pupils have fallen asleep in class at least once in the past two weeks, while 52 per cent were sleep deprived.
Teachers have an important role to play when it comes to encouraging teenagers to sleep more, as they can raise awareness of the issue.
Posted by Tim Colman