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Consumption of highly caffeinated beverages and late-night technology use results in poor sleep for adolescents

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According to a research abstract presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, adolescents’ ability to stay alert and fully function during the day is impaired by the late-night use of technology and consumption of highly caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon. 

Results indicate that teens getting between eight and 10 hours of sleep on school nights tended to have 1.5 to 2.0 fold lower multitasking indices compared to those getting less sleep. Of the participants, 33 percent fell asleep in school. Caffeine consumption tended to be 76 percent higher in those who fell asleep.

According to principal investigator Christina Calamaro, PhD, at Drexel University in Philadelphia, most of the participants began to drink caffeinated beverages after school, around 3 p.m. Participants who multitasked the most had the greatest caffeine intake. The combination of drinking caffeine in the afternoon and multitasking led to a 70 percent greater chance of falling asleep in school and having difficulty falling asleep during the week.

"Our study found that many adolescents used multiple forms of technology late into the night and concurrently consumed caffeinated beverages," said Calamaro. "Often several types of technology (cell phone, text messages, DVD, or computer for example) were used simultaneously (‘multitasking’). As a result, adolescents had difficulty staying awake and alert throughout the day."

The study included students recruited from a paediatric office in a suburb of Philadelphia. Participants were between the ages of 12 and 18 years. Students reported intake of caffeinated drinks, use of nighttime media-related technology and sleep behaviours. All data were collected during the school year, beginning in the fall and ending in early spring (late September until early March).

Adolescents often struggle to obtain a sufficient amount of sleep during the school week due to a biological change that occurs during puberty, which makes falling asleep in time to obtain the required 8–10 hours of sleep for full restoration difficult. Students who use multiple forms of technology late into the night and consume caffeinated beverages subsequently may suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness.

The authors also published their results in the June 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

(Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine: SLEEP 2009: June 2009)


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Posted On: 11 June, 2009
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


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