The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
Going to bed earlier is one way for teens to get the sleep they need, new research suggests.
That may be easier said than done, the researchers admitted. But their study shows that if you can get teens to go to bed earlier, they will increase their time asleep by 41 minutes for each additional hour in bed.
“The idea that there’s a circadian phase delay that prevents teens from going to bed earlier is not true,” said lead researcher Ian Campbell, a project scientist in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis.
Teens have been getting less sleep, he said, with smartphones, tablets, gaming and increased school pressure all contributing to less sleep.
For the study, Campbell and his colleagues enrolled 77 kids, aged 10 to 16, who were studied over three years. In addition, they studied another group of 67 participants who ranged in age from 15 to 21. This group was studied only once.
Annually, participants kept three predetermined times in bed—seven, 8.5, and 10 hours for four consecutive nights. They also kept the same wake-up time.
The investigators found that by the fourth night, average sleep increased by more than an hour as the time in bed increased from seven to nine hours, and it increased by an additional hour with 10 hours in bed.
“This is a paper [that] came out of our study of how sleep needs change across adolescence, and the main goal of that is to alter sleep duration by advancing time in bed with three different times in bed conditions—seven, 8.5 and 10 hours in bed—and look at how that affects daytime performance,” Campbell said.
The final results of the best sleep patterns for teens aren’t complete, he said. So how much sleep teens need and when is the best time to go to bed and wake up aren’t yet clear.
The findings were published online in the journal Pediatrics.