Sleep-Related Problems in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

Amy Wolfson and Edward B. O'Malley

in The Oxford Handbook of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195376203
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Sleep-Related Problems in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

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The chapter that follows provides an overview of the development of sleep and circadian rhythms over the course of adolescence and into emerging adulthood. Following the overview, the authors discuss the hurdles that adolescents face as they negotiate their biological and cognitive sleep needs with the real-world demands that often prevent them from obtaining sufficient and regular sleep (e.g., school start times, academic pressures, driving). The consequences include academic difficulties, emotional and behavioral problems (e.g., depression), substance use/abuse, and motor vehicle accidents. In addition to discussing sleep needs and patterns of adolescents from middle school age through the college years, the chapter provides an overview of the sleep disorders that are either more common and/or have an onset at this developmental stage such as, insomnia, delayed sleep phase syndrome, narcolepsy, and/or sleep apnea. The authors conclude with a discussion of intervention, prevention, and educational approaches for adolescents’ sleep risks and disorders.

Keywords: adolescence; emerging adulthood; sleep needs and patterns; circadian rhythms; phase delay; consequences insufficient sleep; delayed sleep phase syndrome; academic performance; school start times; depressed mood; caffeine

Article.  17830 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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