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Poor self-regulation among Teens strongly associated with when one Sleeps: Study

Nearly 22 per cent of the students reported sleeping less than seven hours on school nights

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New York, November 6, 2016: Poor self-regulation among teens is strongly associated with when one sleeps in relation to their body’s natural circadian rhythm, finds a study.

According to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, daytime sleepiness and being a night owl appear to be more strongly associated with poor self-regulation.

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“The results of this study suggest it is not how long you sleep that has the biggest impact on self-regulation, but when you sleep in relation to the body’s natural circadian rhythms and how impaired you are by sleepiness,” said Judith Owens, Director of the Sleep Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, US.

The researchers analysed 2,017 surveys completed by 7th to 12th graders from 19 middle and high schools, where students completed questionnaires about sleep and self-regulation, including cognitive aspects, behavioural aspect and emotional aspects.

Nearly 22 per cent of the students reported sleeping less than seven hours on school nights.

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Sleep duration, daytime sleepiness and chronotype were clearly interconnected — night owls slept less on school nights and were subsequently sleepier in the daytime, as were those who slept for fewer hours.

But when the researchers examined all three aspects of sleep and adjusted for age, socio-demographic factors and mental health conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and anxiety, it was daytime sleepiness and “night owl” tendencies that independently predicted impaired self-regulation — while sleep duration did not.

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Sleepier adolescents reported significantly worse self-regulation, as did teens who tended to be “night owls” rather than “morning larks”.

The findings held for all types of self-regulation but were most robust for cognitive and emotional aspects.

“The misalignment or mismatch between early school start times and teens’ circadian rhythms — which normally shift later with puberty — may worsen self-regulation or so-called executive functioning,” Owens added. (IANS)

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Family Dinners Promote Healthy Eating Habits in Teenagers

But finding that time once a day — even if it’s breakfast together — can be just as effective, the researcher said. For the study, the team looked at more than 2,700 participants, 14 to 24 years of age

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Family dinners can promote healthy eating habits in teenagers. Pixabay

Teenagers and young adults having dinners together with their families are more likely to have healthier eating habits than those who eat alone, a new study has revealed. The researchers found that when families sit down together, adolescents and young adults eat more fruits and veggies and consume fewer fast-food.

“It’s a time when families can slow down from their busy days to talk, spend time together and problem-solve. It’s also a time that parents can model healthful eating behaviours,” Walton added. The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found that preparing and enjoying a meal together can also help families bond and the meal does not have to be a big drawn-out affair.

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The research has found that family dinners are a great way to improve the dietary intake of the whole family, regardless of how well the family functions together. Pixabay

“Even if it’s something you pull out of the freezer, add a bagged salad on the side and you’ll have a decent nutritional meal,” said Jess Haines, Professor from the University of Guelph in Canada. Walton said many teenaged and young adults living at home are busy with evening extracurricular activities or part-time jobs, making it hard to find time for dinner with family members.

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But finding that time once a day — even if it’s breakfast together — can be just as effective, the researcher said. For the study, the team looked at more than 2,700 participants, 14 to 24 years of age. (IANS)