Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sleeping late on weekends hurts teens' focus

Sleeping late on weekends may not be the answer to sleep lost during the week. High school students in a recent study had more trouble with tests after catching up on sleep over the weekend.

The tests measured a person’s ability to pay attention and were part of a study of about 2,600 urban high school students from South Korea. Students who slept in on the weekends made more mistakes on the tests than students who slept the same amount on weekdays and weekends.

The average amount of sleep per student in the Korean study was 5 hours and 42 minutes on weekdays. This was well below the nine or more hours of sleep that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends for teenagers.

However, catching up on sleep on weekends did not give these students an advantage. The teens who maintained the same sleep hours on weekends as the weekdays scored higher on the attention tests throughout the school term.

Researchers said the results could be helpful information for doctors. It may help them identify teenage patients who are not getting enough sleep and are having trouble concentrating. The study was published in the September 2011 edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Sleeping in on weekends doesn’t seem to work for adults, either. An earlier study showed that adults sleeping six hours a night during the week had lower scores on coordination tests. The low scores remained even after adults slept-in a couple hours on the weekend.

Read more blog posts about teens and sleep. Learn more from the AASM about teens and sleep loss—and take a quiz to rate sleepiness—on the Your Sleep website.

Photo by Star Guitar

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