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Pediatrics. 2015 Mar;135(3):460-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2707.

The great sleep recession: changes in sleep duration among US adolescents, 1991-2012.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, New York; kmk2104@columbia.edu.
2
Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas; and.
3
Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, New York;
4
Institute for Social Research and Department of Psychology and Center for Growth and Human Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Average nightly sleep times precipitously decline from childhood through adolescence. There is increasing concern that historical shifts also occur in overall adolescent sleep time.

METHODS:

Data were drawn from Monitoring the Future, a yearly, nationally representative cross-sectional survey of adolescents in the United States from 1991 to 2012 (N = 272 077) representing birth cohorts from 1973 to 2000. Adolescents were asked how often they get ≥7 hours of sleep and how often they get less sleep than they should. Age-period-cohort models were estimated.

RESULTS:

Adolescent sleep generally declined over 20 years; the largest change occurred between 1991-1995 and 1996-2000. Age-period-cohort analyses indicate adolescent sleep is best described across demographic subgroups by an age effect, with sleep decreasing across adolescence, and a period effect, indicating that sleep is consistently decreasing, especially in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There was also a cohort effect among some subgroups, including male subjects, white subjects, and those in urban areas, with the earliest cohorts obtaining more sleep. Girls were less likely to report getting ≥7 hours of sleep compared with boys, as were racial/ethnic minorities, students living in urban areas, and those of low socioeconomic status (SES). However, racial/ethnic minorities and adolescents of low SES were more likely to self-report adequate sleep, compared with white subjects and those of higher SES.

CONCLUSIONS:

Declines in self-reported adolescent sleep across the last 20 years are concerning. Mismatch between perceptions of adequate sleep and actual reported sleep times for racial/ethnic minorities and adolescents of low SES are additionally concerning and suggest that health education and literacy approaches may be warranted.

KEYWORDS:

Monitoring the Future; adolescence; age-period-cohort; sleep

PMID:
25687142
PMCID:
PMC4338325
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2014-2707
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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