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Sleeping off childhood?
Date:12/23/2009

organization undergoes significant changes during the transition to adolescence. These changes include a delayed sleep phase, which involves a tendency towards later bedtimes and risetimes; shorter sleep, which is associated with increased levels of daytime sleepiness; and irregular sleep patterns, which involve sleeping very little on weekdays and sleeping longer during weekends to compensate. During maturation, adolescents also develop a greater tolerance for sleep deprivation or extended wakefulness.

Catching up on weekends

Sleep-wake patterns were observed subjectively through the use of sleep diaries and objectively through the use of an actigraph, which the 94 children involved in the study (10 and 11 years old at its start) wore on their wrists. The assessment was repeated annually for two successive years. Eighty-two children completed the second assessment, and 72 completed the third assessment.

The authors noted that Israel has a six-day school week, with Friday the only day that is not followed by school. As expected, significant differences were found between sleep on Friday nights and sleep on school nights. On Fridays, sleep onset was delayed, sleep time was extended and sleep quality was poorer in comparison with school nights. These differences were not associated with puberty status or gender, suggesting that the tendency for weekend compensatory sleep is relatively steady over the period of early adolescence.

"A deeper understanding of the interrelationships between sleep and pubertal maturation may provide new insights into the emergence of vulnerabilities for behavioral and emotional health problems in early adolescence," says Prof. Sadeh. "This could improve prevention and early intervention efforts."


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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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