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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2019 May-Jun;48(3):480-490. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2017.1416620. Epub 2018 Jan 25.

Sleep, Circadian Rhythms, and Risk Across Health Domains in Adolescents With an Evening Circadian Preference.

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a Department of Psychology , University of California.
b Department of Behavioral Sciences , Rush University Medical Center.


Sleep and circadian rhythm changes during adolescence contribute to increased risk across emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social, and physical health domains. This study examines if sleep and dim light melatonin onset (DLMO) are related to greater risk in these 5 health domains. Participants were 163 (93 female, age = 14.7 years) adolescents with an evening circadian preference from a study funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Sleep and circadian measures included weekday total sleep time (TST), bedtime, and shut-eye time assessed via sleep diary, the Children's Morningness-Eveningness Preferences scale, and DLMO. Health domains included self-reported emotional, cognitive, behavioral, social, and physical health. Later DLMO was significantly associated with shorter weekday TST, later weekday bedtime, and later weekday shut-eye time, as well as lower risk in the behavioral domain. At the trend level, later DLMO was related to fewer physical health problems. Earlier DLMO combined with a later bedtime, later shut-eye time, or shorter TST predicted greater risk in the cognitive domain. Later DLMO and shorter TST or a later bedtime predicted worse physical health. DLMO timing was not related to the emotional or social domain. There is evidence that a discrepancy between sleep behaviors and the endogenous circadian rhythm may be related to risk in the cognitive domain for adolescents with an evening circadian preference. Preliminary evidence also indicated that a delayed DLMO and shorter TST or a later bedtime may be related to vulnerability to physical health risk.

[Available on 2020-05-01]

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