The Jakarta Post
A new study finds that the amount of sleep a teenager gets is associated with risky behavior, such as drunk driving, potentially unsafe sexual activity and aggressive behavior. (Shutterstock/File)
A new study has found that the amount of sleep teenagers get is associated with the odds of them engaging in risky behavior, as reported by CNN.
Published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, the study used data from the US-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey from February 2007 to May 2015, that explored behavior related to health risks in youth. Researchers found that more than 70 percent of high school students slept less than the recommended eight hours per night.
They also said that the unsafe behavior included drunken driving, potentially unsafe sexual activity, aggressive behavior and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
The team found that teenagers who slept less than six hours per night were three times more likely to report considering suicide, planning a suicide attempt or attempting suicide, compared with teens who slept eight hours or more. They were also four times more likely to have reported a suicide attempt that resulted in them needing treatment.
Matthew Weaver, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School who led the study, said prior reports had found that high school students who slept less than eight hours were at increased risk of adverse self-behavior.
"Our study adds to this literature by using a larger updated data set over a longer study interval and by incorporating more granular sleep information and looking at a wider array of risk-taking behaviors."
Weaver admitted to certain limitations of the study, as participants self-reported the data and as it did not show a causal relationship between sleep and higher risk behaviors.
Reut Gruber, director of the Attention, Behavior and Sleep Laboratory at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, advised parents to pay attention to children’s sleep schedules.
"I think my message to parents is that it is a priority. It will make a huge difference in their children's lives and performance and mood and behavior," Gruber said. (wng)