Everyone wants the ability to go to sleep quickly and wake up rested and ready for the day. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, especially teenagers. An Australian research project took a look at why teens are struggling to sleep well.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland and James Cook University, took a look at over 3,600 youngsters as they aged from 14 to 21, tracking their sleep habits and outside influences throughout the seven-year period. At age 14, about a quarter of the participants reported having sleep problems. Forty percent of those that reported sleep issues at a young age stated that they still had sleep problems at age 21.
Although the sleep problems persisted, one doctor made it clear that the cause of the sleep issues differed at a younger age than from an older age. Dr. Yaqoot Fatima explained, “Maternal factors, such as drug abuse, smoking, depression, and anxiety among mothers are the most significant predictors of adolescent sleep problems in their children, at 14-years-old. For all people studied, being female, having experienced early puberty, and being a smoker were the most significant predictors of sleep problems at 21 years.”
Dr. Fatima also commented on the effects of electronics on sleep habits. Recent research has highlighted how it can negatively affect sleep, especially within teenagers. “In Children and adolescents, it’s found to be strongly associated with later bedtime and shorter sleep duration, increasing the risk of developing sleep disturbances,” she said.
According to Dr. Fatima, there is one thing that youngsters can do to help themselves get a full night sleep. She stated that they had linked an active lifestyle to decreasing future issues with sleeping. Dr. Fatima explained further that “early exercise intervention with adolescents might provide a good opportunity to prevent their sleep problems persisting into later life.”