But a new study suggests that social ties, including relationships with peers and parents, may be even more responsible for changing sleep patterns among adolescents.
"My study found that social ties were more important than biological development as predictors of teen sleep behaviors," said David J. Maume, a sociology professor at the University of Cincinnati, and author of the study, "Social Ties and Adolescent Sleep Disruption," which appears in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
Drawing on a sample from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a longitudinal study of children's physical, cognitive, and social development, Maume analyzed the changes in school night sleep patterns of nearly 1,000 adolescents from when they were 12 to 15-years-old. He found that during this period, the average sleep duration dropped from more than nine hours per school night to less than eight.
"When adolescents have trouble sleeping, doctors often recommend prescription drugs to address the problem," Maume said. "My research indicates that it's necessary to look beyond biology when seeking to understand and treat adolescents' sleep problems. Such an approach may lead to more counseling or greater parental involvement in teens' lives, both of which are less invasive than commonly-prescribed medical solutions and, at least in the case of parental involvement, cheaper."
Maume found that parental monitoring of adolescent behavior — especially in setting a bedtime — strongly determined healthy sleep habits. "Research shows that parents who keep tabs on their kids are less likely to see them get into trouble or use drugs and alcohol," Maume said. "My findings suggest a similar dynamic with sleep. Parents who monitor their children's behavior are more likely to have kids that get adequate rest. Given that children generally get less sleep as they become teenagers, parents should be ever more vigilant at this stage."
Adolescents also had healthier sleep — longer duration and higher quality — when they felt they were a part of the schools they attended or had friends who cared about academics and were positive, social people. "Teens who have pro-social friends, tend to behave in pro-social ways, which includes taking care of one's health by getting proper sleep," Maume said.
The study also uncovered a number of other interesting findings. For example, minority adolescents reported less sleep on school nights than their white counterparts. "Past research on minority families suggests that children who have trouble sleeping are allowed to get up, whereas white youths are encouraged to stay in bed," Maume said. "If this is the case, then minority children may get less sleep at night."
In addition, Maume discovered that girls reported more sleep issues (e.g., waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back to sleep; worrying about homework, friends, or family and not being able to fall asleep as a result; having trouble falling asleep in general; and having trouble waking up) than boys. "Some research has suggested that women report more sickness than men — even though men typically die younger than women — because women are socialized to be introspective and to recognize illness," Maume said. "This may apply to sleep problems as well."
Maume also found that as adolescents increased their time in front of the television from ages 12 to 15, they slept marginally longer but had slightly more sleep issues. On the other hand, increases in adolescent computer usage were associated with both less sleep and more sleep issues.
"My findings related to computer usage were what I expected," Maume said. "However, I did not anticipate that watching more television would correlate with getting more sleep. It's possible that television watching may be associated with longer sleep if most of the viewing is taking place on the weekends when these kids can sleep late rather than go to school in the morning. Unfortunately, my data do not allow for an examination of this speculation."
A National Science Foundation grant supported this study.
About the American Sociological Association and the Journal of Health and Social Behavior
The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society. The Journal of Health and Social Behavior is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of the ASA.
The research article described above is available by request for members of the media. For a copy of the full study, contact Daniel Fowler, ASA's Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer, at (202) 527-7885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel Fowler | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences