There are increasing concerns that social pressures, such as family changes and social media, are ‘invading’ the sanctuary of the bedroom with the result that students arrive at school tired and stressed. This paper seeks to examine whether these concerns are justified and contribute to the growing literature on the social dimensions of sleep through examining the rest and routines of two cohorts of young people aged 12–13 and 14–15 years old. Our research indicates that, in general, most young people have ‘reasonable’ amounts of sleep and routines. But, a significant proportion does go to school tired, with apparent negative consequences for their well-being.
The paper examines some of the within-cohort variations, in particular, the significance of volume of sleep, routines and engagement with social media and how these may reflect the material and cultural circumstances of the young people. The paper concludes by arguing for more research on the complex social causes and consequences of sleep deprivation among today’s youth.