The changes in sleep cycle and increased need for sleep have been observed in all populations of human adolescents, as well as in many other mammals. Most teens, and New Canaan teens are no exception, need between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep a night and getting less than that is harmful.
In 2006, the League of Women Voters surveyed teens and parents in New Canaan and found:
Sleep deprivation has been shown to impair creativity, abstract thinking, problem-solving, innovation, concentration, attention, decision-making, coordination, and motor response times. It can cause irritability, moodiness, emotional instability, aggressiveness and stress. Insufficient sleep reduces the body's response to immunization and its natural ability to fight off infections. Sleep is a powerful regulator of appetite, energy use and weight control. Lack of sleep contributes to factors associated with heart disease and stroke. Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of stimulant and alcohol use. Sleep deprivation magnifies alcohol's effects on the body, increasing impairment of cognitive abilities and motor coordination.