Healthy sleep leads to healthy brains. Neuroscientists have gotten that message out. But parents, doctors, and educators alike have struggled to identify what to do to improve sleep. Some have called for delaying school start times or limiting screen time before bed to achieve academic, health, and even economic gains.
Still, recent estimates suggest that roughly half of adolescents in the United States are sleep-deprived. These numbers are alarming because sleep is particularly important during adolescence, a time of significant brain changes that affect learning, self-control, and emotional systems. And sleep deficits are even greater in economically disadvantaged youth compared to their more affluent counterparts.