Here's another reason why teens should go to bed on time. According to Science Daily, adolescents who have unhealthy sleeping patterns may be more prone to common illnesses such as colds, flu, and gastroenteritis.

Researchers led by Kathryn Orzech, Ph.D. from the Bradley Hospital Sleep Research Laboratory compared the “number of illness bouts, illness duration, and school absences related to illness” of regular and irregular teen sleepers who were observed during a six-day time frame before and after a diagnosed condition.

They found that those who had irregular sleeping patterns, or those who slept late during weekdays and compensated for it during weekends, were less protected from diseases compared with those who had regular sleeping patterns.

“We showed that there are short-term outcomes, like more acute illness among shorter-sleeping adolescents, that don't require waiting months, years, or decades to show up," Orzech explains. “Yes, poor sleep is linked to increased cardiovascular disease, to high cholesterol, to obesity, to depression, etc., but for a teenager, staying healthy for the dance next week, or the game on Thursday, may be more important. This message from this study is clear: sleep more, and more regularly, get sick less.”

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(Photo by erin leigh mcconnell via Flickr Creative Commons)

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