Adolescent changes in the homeostatic and circadian regulation of sleep

Dev Neurosci. 2009;31(4):276-84. doi: 10.1159/000216538. Epub 2009 Jun 17.


Sleep deprivation among adolescents is epidemic. We argue that this sleep deprivation is due in part to pubertal changes in the homeostatic and circadian regulation of sleep. These changes promote a delayed sleep phase that is exacerbated by evening light exposure and incompatible with aspects of modern society, notably early school start times. In this review of human and animal literature, we demonstrate that delayed sleep phase during puberty is likely a common phenomenon in mammals, not specific to human adolescents, and we provide insight into the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gonadal Hormones / metabolism
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Male
  • Photoperiod
  • Puberty / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*


  • Gonadal Hormones