Two new studies back up claims that getting enough shut-eye is crucial to keeping the young alert and healthy.
In data presented at this year's meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, researchers found college students retained new information they learned in class better if they got enough sleep.
Results showed performances by 102 university undergraduates on a economics test were stronger when a student got a full night's sleep, in contrast to tests taken after 12 hours of wakefulness, or in periods where students go no sleep at all.
"Reaction times are slower, people have difficulty concentrating when they are sleep deprived," said Dr. Marc Schlosbert.
And at that same conference, sleep experts found tired teens were 50% more likely to have strong cravings for carbohydrates which break down into glucose, than teens who had a full night's sleep.
Researchers also found the rate of depression was higher among students who had a strong craving for carbohydrates than among students who had little or no urge to eat carbs.
"We need glucose for the brain to run. and if the brain is under stress than the brain will need more glucose. Well if we're sleep deprived, maybe that's contributing to the stress or anxiety level and that's what causing this crave to increase," said Dr. Schlosbert.
By looking at their results, investigators believe a lack of sleep may be a factor in the rising childhood obesity problem in the U.S.