Less sleep associated with dangerous behavior in teens, study says – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports and weather


By Naomi Thomas, CNN

The amount of a young child is related to the likelihood of them engaging in dangerous and suicidal behavior, a new study said.

"A few hours of sleep in an average school night [is] accompanied by increased chances of all unsafe choice behavior, "the authors wrote, including driving risk taking, such as drunk driving, potentially precarious sexual activity, aggressive behavior, and the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs others.

Participants' sleep duration was categorized as eight hours or more, seven hours, six hours, or less than six hours, and then measured against high risk behaviors, a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics magazine.

The team found the strongest associations about mood and self-harm. Teenagers sleeping for less than six hours a night were three times more likely to report suicide, planning a suicide attempt or trying to suicide, compared with teenagers sleeping eight hours or more. They were also four times more likely to report a suicide attempt that resulted in those in need of treatment.

Researchers have used data from February 2007 to May 2015 from the Youth Risk Survey, a US-based study exploring the behaviors associated with health risks in youth and found that more than 70% of schoolchildren the middle were getting less than eight hours a night.

"Earlier reports have documented that high school students who slept less than eight hours were at increased risk of unfavorable behaviors," says Matthew Weaver, Harvard Medical School Medical Instructor and Associate Epidemiologist at Sleep Division and Circadian Disorders in Brigham and the Women's Hospital, who led the study. "Our study adds to this literature by using a larger amount of updated data over a long study period and including slimmer sleep information and looking at a variety of risk behaviors."

Sample size and sleep duration rating were useful for the study, according to Reut Gruber, director of the Laboratory of Care, Behavior and Sleep at the Douglas University Institute of Mental Health and associate professor at McGill University's Psychiatry Department. Gruber was not involved in the study.

"I think that reinforces what we believe is the case," Gruber said, "I'm not sure that each of the findings is entirely a surprise or new, but certainly proves what we think. Sometimes challenges with other studies, they may be much smaller, or the sample may not be properly selected, may be biased, so I think the methodology in terms of sampling and sample size is a real force. "

Weaver and Gruber both noted study restrictions include the fact that the data are self-reported by the participants and that the research does not indicate a causal relationship between sleep and higher risk behaviors.

Gruber advises parents to stay in charge of their children's sleeping time, as adolescents are not always able to manage their sleep and may not know when it's best time to get the lights off.

"I think my message to parents is a priority. It will make a big difference in the lives and performance of their children and in their mood and behavior," Gruber said. "My experience, my impression, is that it is something we still have to do with parents as well as what we do with other things that we know are sick for children."


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