Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Centre found that 11 to 17-year-olds with chronic insomnia demonstrated a twofold to fivefold increase in personal problems.
Common problems included drug use, depression and difficulty with school work or jobs.
Commenting on the study of 3,134 adolescents, which is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, lead author Dr Robert Roberts said: "Insomnia is both common and chronic among adolescents.
"The data indicate that the burden of insomnia is comparable to that of other psychiatric disorders such as mood, anxiety, disruptive and substance abuse disorders. Chronic insomnia severely impacts future health and functioning of youths."
Dr Roberts, a professor of health promotion and behavioural sciences, believes that primary care may offer a suitable opportunity to screen for adolescent insomnia.