Saturday, July 16, 2011

Better Sleep and Daytime Functioning When Parents Set Bedtimes in Adolescents

There is an interesting article in the June edition of the Sleep Journal about parents setting bedtimes for adolescents, and the impact this can have on sleep and daytime functioning. Many adolescents are sleep-deprived these days due to early school start times, need to complete homework, after school activities like work and sports, and of course, smart phones / TV / video games in the bedroom.

Researchers surveyed 385 adolescents aged 13-18 years old, and 17.5% of them said their parents set their bedtime. Naturally, this was an age dependent finding, with more younger children reporting parent-set bedtimes than older children. But the interesting part was that those children that had parent-set bedtimes went to bed 23 minutes earlier, slept 19 minutes more on school nights, reported less datyime fatigue, and had less trouble staying awake during the day. There was no difference in the reported time it took to fall asleep, whether the parent or adolescent set the bedtime.

The researchers concluded that the findings from this study support the potential benefit of parent limit-setting around bedtimes for adolescents. Of note, the differences in sleep parameters disappeared on the weekends, when parents did not set bedtimes for the adolescents. This further strengthens the positive effect that the parent-set bedtimes had on sleep.

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