EDISON - Teens who remain awake answering texts and emails all night may develop serious health risks, according to several studies.

A 2010 study by researchers at the JFK Medical Center sleep laboratory in Edison found that teens sent an average of 33.5 emails and texts overnight and that their sleep was affected.

"Sleep is just as important as getting the proper food, drink, or even safety in the lives of children," said Sudhansu Chokroverty, M.D., Director of Neurophysiology and Sleep Medicine at the JFK Pediatric Sleep Center in a March 17 news release. "Although this seems quite obvious, many children actually do not get the critical sleep they need to develop and function properly."

A National Sleep Foundation study released this month found that almost one in five teens ages 13-18 are awakened by a phone call, text message or email at least a few nights a week.

Health experts say the behaviors lead to a lack of sleep that affects learning and day-to-day activities.