Late To Bed, Late To Rise - Findings Suggest Teenagers Prefer To Function As Night Owls

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1st April 2008, 12:02pm - Views: 1064

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1 April 2008

For immediate release

Late to bed, late to rise - findings suggest 

teenagers prefer to function as night owls

Getting teenagers out of bed is no easy task. Numerous studies indicate that at the

onset of puberty, adolescents become more ‘evening typed’, preferring later

bedtimes and wake times. 

In the Journal of Adolescence, a new report by Swinburne researchers Dr Suzanne

Warner, Dr Greg Murray and Dr Denny Meyer details the sleep patterns of 310

Australian senior school students, including information surrounding their sleep

quality, mood, daytime functioning, grades and circadian preference. By comparing

patterns for holiday and school-term, the researchers believed they could capture a

teenager's ideal sleep schedule.

Students get significantly less sleep when they are in school term - roughly one hour

and 17 minutes less a night than when on holiday. They also have to wake up

considerably earlier - about two hours and 30 minutes sooner. In contrast, the

students tended to adopt a later sleep/wake routine during the holidays. 

The research showed that ideally students need about eight hours and 45 minutes of

sleep, but during the holidays they tend to get about nine hours and 12 minutes.

During school term, they typically get less than eight hours.

As a result, students overall reported more depressed moods, increased feelings of

unhappiness, impaired daytime functioning, sleepiness during the day, irritation with

others, problems controlling emotions and increased complaints of lethargy.


Results provide further support that sleep is a crucial aspect of adolescent health

and well being - and sadly, many young people are obtaining insufficient or poor

sleep quality during the school term. 

With day-to-day functioning compromised, the task of learning becomes even more

challenging for teenagers - especially those that are ‘night owls’.

The abstract and full text article ‘Holiday and school-term sleep patterns of

Australian adolescents’ in the Journal of Adolescence can be found at



Media Contact: Lea Kivivali, 0410 569 311

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