Restricted sleep duration among young adults and adolescents has been shown to increase the risk of morbidities such as obesity, diabetes or accidents. However there are few epidemiological studies on normal total sleep time (TST) in representative groups of teen-agers which allow to get normative data.
Purpose: To explore perceived total sleep time on schooldays (TSTS) and non schooldays (TSTN) and the prevalence of sleep initiating insomnia among a nationally representative sample of teenagers.
Methods: Data from 9,251 children aged 11 to 15 years-old, 50.7% of which were boys, as part of the cross-national study 2011 HBSC were analyzed. Self-completion questionnaires were administered in classrooms. An estimate of TSTS and TSTN (week-ends and vacations) was calculated based on specifically designed sleep habits report. Sleep deprivation was estimated by a TSTN - TSTS difference >2 hours. Sleep initiating nsomnia was assessed according to International classification of sleep disorders (ICSD 2). Children who reported sleeping 7 hours or less per night were considered as short sleepers.
Results: A serious drop of TST was observed between 11 yo and 15 yo, both during the schooldays (9 hours 26 minutes vs. 7 h 55 min.; p<0.001) and at a lesser extent during week-ends (10 h 17 min. vs. 9 h 44 min.; p<0.001). Sleep deprivation concerned 16.0% of chidren aged of 11 yo vs. 40.5% of those of 15 yo (p<0.001). Too short sleep was reported by 2.6% of the 11 yo vs. 24.6% of the 15 yo (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Despite the obvious need for sleep in adolescence, TST drastically decreases with age among children from 11 to 15 yo which creates significant sleep debt increasing with age.