Wednesday January 24, 2018

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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Best time to learn new skills may develop during teenage years

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Teenage years are the best time to learn and develop new skills.
Teenage years are the best time to learn and develop new skills. wikimedia commons

London, Dec 24, 2017: While a person can never be old enough to learn a new skill, teenage years can make learning easier. It is because the brain reacts more responsively to receiving rewards during adolescence, finds a study. Teenage years have been known to be inextricably linked to alcohol abuse, reckless behaviour and poor choice in friends.

This is due in part to increased activity in the corpus striatum — a small area deeply hidden away inside the brain. However, the new study showed that this increased activity in the corpus striatum does not have only negative consequences. “The adolescent brain is very sensitive to feedback,” said Sabine Peters, Assistant Professor at the Leiden University in the Netherlands.

“That makes adolescence the ideal time to acquire and retain new information,” Peters added. For the study, published in Nature Communications, the team involved 300 subjects between the ages of 8 and 29 and took MRI scans of their brains, for over a period of five years.

In the MRI scanner, participants had to solve a memory game, while the researchers gave feedback on the participants’ performance. The results showed that adolescents responded keenly to educational feedback. If the adolescent received useful feedback, then you saw the corpus striatum being activated. This was not the case with less pertinent feedback, for example, if the test person already knew the answer, the researchers said.

“The stronger your brain recognises that difference, the better the performance in the learning task. Brain activation could even predict learning performance two years into the future,” Peters said. (IANS)