28 Sep Myths About Teenager Sleep Needs Are Common
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D.
Instructor in Medicine
Associate Scientist, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders
Investigator, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders
Departments of Medicine and Neurology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Teens face myriad challenges to sleep, ranging from biological factors, including a preference for later bedtimes and increased need for sleep, to social factors, including social pressures and increased academic workloads, all limiting teenagers in their ability to keep a healthy sleep schedule.
In a nationally representative sample, we explored the prevalence of another potential barrier to sleep among teens, which are a set of beliefs that are held in the population, yet are actual counter to scientific principles regarding sleep and circadian rhythms.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Do adolescent sleep patterns evolve into adulthood?
Response: Our research suggests that myths about teenager sleep are common and may also limit caregivers in their ability to support their teen’s sleep. More than 70% of caregivers reported beliefs that allowing their teen to sleep in late on the weekends is a good thing, yet sleeping in more than 1 hour past our usual wakeup time can give our brain cues that we are trying to adjust to a new time zone, which will then make it difficult to fall asleep when their normal bedtime rolls around the following night.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Hopefully by identifying myths about teenager sleep we can promote evidence-based beliefs to better support young people and their ability to get healthy sleep despite the numerous biological and social factors that can limit their ability to do so.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?
Response: Future research may aim to develop behavioral interventions that make use of social media and other channels to promote awareness of these myths.
Robbins R, Grandner MA, Buxton OM, Hale L, Buysse DJ, Knutson KL, Patel SR, Troxel WM, Youngstedt SD, Czeisler CA, Jean-Louis G. Sleep myths: an expert-led study to identify false beliefs about sleep that impinge upon population sleep health practices. Sleep Health. 2019 Aug;5(4):409-417. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2019.02.002. Epub 2019 Apr 17. PMID: 31003950; PMCID: PMC6689426.
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