Sleep Patterns and Mental Health Correlates in US Adolescents

J Pediatr. 2017 Mar;182:137-143. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.11.007. Epub 2016 Dec 7.


Objective: To investigate systematically the associations of sleep patterns with a range of mental disorders and other outcomes among a nationally representative sample of US adolescents.

Study design: Using the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of 10 123 US adolescents 13-18 years of age, we assessed associations between adolescent-reported sleep patterns (tertiles of weeknight bedtime, weeknight sleep duration, weekend bedtime delay, and weekend oversleep) and past-year mental disorders based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, smoking, injury, suicidality, and perceived mental and physical health, assessed via direct diagnostic interview.

Results: The average weeknight bedtime was at 22:37 and sleep duration was 7.72 hours. Average weekend bedtime delay was 1.81 hours and average weekend oversleep was 1.17 hours. Later weeknight bedtime, shorter weeknight sleep duration, greater weekend bedtime delay, and both short and long periods of weekend oversleep were associated with increased odds of mood, anxiety, substance use, and behavioral disorders, as well as suicidality, tobacco smoking, and poor perceived mental and physical health. ORs ranged from 1.27 to 2.15. The only outcomes not associated with any sleep patterns were past-year injury and eating disorder.

Conclusions: Suboptimal sleep patterns were associated with an array of mental disorders and other health-related outcomes among adolescents. Abnormal sleep patterns may serve as markers of prodromal or untreated mental disorders among adolescents, and may provide opportunities for prevention and intervention in mental disorders.

Keywords: psychiatric disorders; self-rated health; sleep duration; sleep variability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Health*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • United States