Adolescent Sleep Patterns: Biological, Social, and Psychological Influences

Adolescent Sleep Patterns: Biological, Social, and Psychological Influences

Adolescent Sleep Patterns: Biological, Social, and Psychological Influences

Adolescent Sleep Patterns: Biological, Social, and Psychological Influences

Synopsis

Adolescents are among the most sleep deprived populations in our society. This book explores the genesis and development of sleep patterns at this phase of the life span. It examines biological and cultural factors that influence sleep patterns, presents risks associated with lack of sleep, and reveals the effects of environmental factors such as work and school schedules on sleep. This study will appeal to psychologists and sociologists of adolescence who have not yet considered the important role of sleep in the lives of our youth.

Excerpt

Adolescence is the great and terrifying transition from childhood to adulthood. It is in the interest of a civilized society that a mature, responsible, and well-educated young adult emerges from this transition. Along with mental and physical maturation, a triumvirate of preventive health should be inculcated during adolescence as a permanent philosophy of living. The practice of nutritional health will ensure the best possible outcome during the process of growing older. Exercise and physical fitness, likewise, will also foster health and quality of life. Healthy adequate sleep will foster longevity and particularly the optimal use of our waking hours. We are not healthy unless our sleep is healthy. Sadly (perhaps the raison d'ětre of this volume), the inculcation of this third member of the triumvirate of preventive health is absent. Furthermore, its absence can have many known and as yet unknown deleterious effects on human life.

A recent report of an exhaustive study on adolescence, Great Transitions: Preparing Adolescents for a New Century prepared by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (1995), exemplifies the puzzling and frustrating blind spot regarding sleep issues by even the best of the best. While excellent, thorough, and future-oriented in every other area, the report did not mention adolescent sleep or biological rhythms.

It has been my great privilege to be associated for many years with the editor and progenitor of this book. I knew her first as a family member (a cousin of my wife), and then I was very lucky that a unique concatenation of events brought her to Stanford University in 1970. She directed a truly pioneering program on the scientific study of daytime sleepiness in the Stanford University Summer Sleep Camp from 1975 to 1985. The studies in this remarkable facility established the scientific basis of our current understanding of the critical dimension of waking . . .

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