Sleep duration and mood in adolescents: an experimental study

Sleep. 2021 May 14;44(5):zsaa253. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsaa253.


Study objectives: This study examines the relationship between experimentally manipulated sleep duration and mood in adolescents.

Methods: Thirty-four adolescents (20 male), aged 15-17 years, lived in a sleep laboratory for 10 days and 9 nights. They were allocated to one of three sleep "doses" for five consecutive nights for 5, 7.5, or 10 h sleep opportunity per night. Two baseline nights and two recovery nights entailed 10 h sleep opportunity per night. Mood was measured every 3 h during wake using unipolar visual analogue scales measuring the mood states "depressed," "afraid," "angry," "confused," "anxious," "happy," and "energetic."

Results: Mixed models analyses with post hoc comparisons revealed that participants in the 5-h group, but not the 7.5- or 10-h groups, reported being significantly more depressed, angry, and confused during sleep restriction than at baseline. Adolescents were significantly less happy and energetic during sleep restricted to 5 h and significantly less energetic during sleep restricted to 7.5 h. When adolescents had 10 h sleep opportunities their happiness significantly increased. No statistically significant effects of sleep restriction were found for fear or anxiety, although small-to-moderate effects of sleep restricted to 5 or 7.5 h were found. Two nights of recovery sleep was not sufficient to recover from increased negative mood states for the 5-h group, although recovery occurred for positive mood states.

Conclusions: Given the prevalence of insufficient sleep and the rising incidence of mood disorders and dysregulation in adolescents, these findings highlight the importance of sufficient sleep to mitigate these risks.

Keywords: adolescent; anxiety; depression; mood; sleep; sleep restriction.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect*
  • Anger
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Deprivation* / epidemiology