Sleepy Teens May Struggle To Control Their Behavior And Emotions, Says Study

Posted: Nov 6 2016, 8:49am CST | by , Updated: Nov 7 2016, 8:18pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Sleepy Teens may Struggle to Control their Behavior and Emotions, Says Study
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High school students who sleep less at night and get excessive daytime sleep have poor self-regulation.

Teens who typically stay up late and feel drowsy during the day may find it difficult to control their emotions and behavior compared to their peers.

New research reveals that insufficient sleep is not the only factor linked to poor self-regulation or the inability to manage one's thoughts, emotions and behaviors. A combination of factors contributes to mental exhaustion and physical fatigue during the day.

To determine whether excessive daytime sleep or inadequate sleep at night also affects the self-regulation, researchers surveyed 2,017 middle and high school students in Virginia. On average, participants were 15 years old. Each of them was asked to fill up a questionnaire about their sleep duration, daytime sleepiness and their thoughts, emotions and behavior.

Nearly 22 percent of the students admitted of getting insufficient sleep, fewer than seven hours at night. And it was also the night owls or students sleeping less on night to report feeling drowsy and lacking concentration and alertness during the daytime. The study shows a clear-cut connection between excessive daytime sleep and poor self-regulation.

But when researchers examined these aspects of sleep together, they found that the duration of sleep may not be a main problem. Instead, daytime sleepiness is more strongly associated with struggling to control emotions and behavior than insufficient sleep.

“Unfortunately, their brains have a natural tendency to shift bedtime to later at night. Couple this with early school start time and you run the risk of chronic sleep deprivation that leads to poor school performance and an increase in unsafe behavior.” Dr. Sujay Kansagra, pediatric neurology researcher from Duke University who was not involved in the study told Fox News.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends eight to 10 hours of sleep for teens for optimal health and functioning. That’s why, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that middle or high schools should start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

“Children and adolescents with better self-regulation have better physical and mental health and financial security as adults," said co-author Robert Whitaker, a professor of public health and pediatrics at Temple University. “So we need to understand how sleep and other factors optimize the development of self-regulation."

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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