Explaining sleep duration in adolescents: the impact of socio-demographic and lifestyle factors and working status

Frida Marina Fischer, Roberta Nagai, Liliane Reis Teixeira
Chronobiology International 2008, 25 (2): 359-72
Previous studies found students who both work and attend school undergo a partial sleep deprivation that accumulates across the week. The aim of the present study was to obtain information using a questionnaire on a number of variables (e.g., socio-demographics, lifestyle, work timing, and sleep-wake habits) considered to impact on sleep duration of working (n = 51) and non-working (n = 41) high-school students aged 14-21 yrs old attending evening classes (19:00-22:30 h) at a public school in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Data were collected for working days and days off. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to assess the factors associated with sleep duration on weekdays and weekends. Work, sex, age, smoking, consumption of alcohol and caffeine, and physical activity were considered control variables. Significant predictors of sleep duration were: work ( p < 0.01), daily work duration (8-10 h/day; p < 0.01), sex ( p = 0.04), age 18-21 yrs (0.01), smoking( p = 0.02) and drinking habits ( p = 0.03), irregular physical exercise (p < 0.01), ease of falling asleep ( p = 0.04), and the sleep-wake cycle variables of napping ( p < 0.01), nocturnal awakenings ( p < 0.01), and mid-sleep regularity ( p < 0.01). The results confirm the hypotheses that young students who work and attend school showed a reduction in night-time sleep duration. Sleep deprivation across the week, particularly in students working 8-10 h/day, is manifested through a sleep rebound (i.e., extended sleep duration) on Saturdays. However, the different roles played by socio-demographic and lifestyle variables have proven to be factors that intervene with nocturnal sleep duration. The variables related to the sleep-wake cycle-naps and night awakenings-proved to be associated with a slight reduction in night-time sleep, while regularity in sleep and wake-up schedules was shown to be associated with more extended sleep duration, with a distinct expression along the week and the weekend. Having to attend school and work, coupled with other sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, creates an unfavorable scenario for satisfactory sleep duration.

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