03 May 2002
Teenagers who sleep in late on weekends are not actually lazy — they are just catching up on sleep they were robbed of during the week.
According to a study presented at the recent American Academy of Neurology meeting in Denver, there may even be a case for starting school later in the day as sleep deprivation can affect academic performance and behaviour.
When Northwestern University research associate Kathryn Reid and colleagues studied 729 adolescents aged 12-17 years who were admitted to a juvenile temporary detention centre, they found that, on average, teenagers sleep an hour or more longer on weekends.
While waking times were later among older than younger teenagers, a longer duration was consistent among all participants.
'Previous research has indicated that sleep-wake habits of teenagers vary from those of adults and younger children, and that many adolescents experience chronic partial sleep deprivation,' Dr Reid said.
'We found that teenagers sleep, on average, 8.5 hours during the week and more than 9.5 hours on weekends.'
She suggested that a relationship between sleep times and measures of mental health, academic performance and behaviour might also be revealed through additional data analysis.
Last Reviewed: 06 May 2002