Just one in five teens is getting the recommended eight hours of sleep each night. The rest may be texting the night away with the help of highly-caffeinated energy drinks, according to new research.

And, it's not that teens don't need the sleep. One-third of teens polled reported falling asleep in school at least twice each day. Several students even confessed to falling asleep at the wheel while driving.

"We found that as these adolescents multitask into the night, they also caffeinate, and it affects their sleep dramatically," said the study's lead author, Christina Calamaro, an assistant professor of nursing at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The U.S. population as a whole has lost about one to two hours of nightly sleep during the past four decades, according to background information in the study. At the same time, there's been a twofold increase in the number of teens getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. But, teens may need even more sleep than adults. Some experts suggest that eight to nine hours a night is inadequate for most teens.

While sleep duration decreased, the amount of technology in adolescents' bedrooms increased. Almost all teens have at least one electronic device in their room -- TV, cell phone, computer, telephone or music device. The average sixth-grader has two of these devices in the bedroom, according to the study. By 12th grade, there are often four electronic devices in the bedroom.

The current study, published in the June issue of Pediatrics, recruited 100 teens from the Philadelphia area to assess their technology and caffeine use, as well as their sleeping habits.

Fifteen percent of the youngsters said they only slept three to five hours per night, while 62 percent reported getting six to eight hours nightly. Just 20 percent slept 8 or more hours each night.

As sleep-deprived adults so often do, tired teens reached for caffeine to keep them awake. Only 27.5 percent of the teens drank less than 100 milligrams of caffeine daily, or about the equivalent of one espresso. Eleven percent drank the equivalent of more than four espressos daily.

Source: U.S. News & World Report
http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2009/05/28/technology-caffeine-keeping-teens-awake.html