Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Science of Adolescent Sleep-ins

Anyone who lives with teenagers or has been a teenager (remember when?) knows about the dramas of their waking for their morning. Researching for News Bytes, I discovered an article about this phenomenon The Biology of Bedtime. Seems a team of researchers in Germany has come to the conclusion that sleeping in is "a defining mark of adolescence." The article continues ...."Till Roenneberg, of the University of Munich in Germany, and his colleagues arrived at this conclusion by studying "chronotypes." A chronotype is essentially an individual's personal "circadian rhythm," or 24-hour cycle of biological activity. For example, some people - dubbed "larks" - tend to wake up between 4 and 6 am and are ready for bed between 8 and 10 pm. Meanwhile, others - the "owls" - prefer to wake up between 8 and 10 am and fall asleep somewhere between midnight and 2 am. The majority of the population falls somewhere between these two extremes."

The article continues to report that scientists can measure the end of adolescence by the turn around from later sleeping and rising to increasingly earlier sleeping and rising. And apparently the phenomenon was not limited to those in the cities who partied late, but extended across the population.

Hmmmm ... Sceptic I may be, but there was no mention of the age-old adolescent need to push the boundaries. Partying or not, there is always the effort to push the bedtime later and later, simply because it's a chance to test the rules ... to limit the effects of lack of choice in our lives. And I think this is not limited to adolescents.

I wonder does Mr Roenneberg live with teenagers...??

Fascinating research, though. You can find the link on my News Bytes page.
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