Sleep occupies a third of our lives; yet, only of late has credit been given to the significant role it plays in our health and well-being. Teens often are limited in the duration of sleep acquired, due to time-consuming activities, as well as biological and environmental aspects of adolescence. The current study explores potential risk of injury among teens by examining associations between sleep patterns, sleep duration, and injury.
Youth at Work, an open cohort from 41 rural high schools in Minnesota, followed 15,002 students from 2001-2003. Data were collected through a self-completed questionnaire, distributed to each student four times during the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 school years. Questionnaire responses described events in either the summer months (fall administration) or the school year (spring administration). A total of 41, 272 questionnaires were completed. Analysis included odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) calculations using logistic regression, controlling for potential confounders by means of directed acyclic graphs.
Results indicated that adolescents who reported sleeping six hours or less every night during the summer had an increased risk of injury (OR = 1.40; CI = 1.13, 1.72). Risk of injury increased further for individuals who slept six hours or less during the weekend nights in the summer, but received optimal sleep on weeknights (OR = 1.60; CI = 1.20, 2.14). During the school year, students who reported six hours of sleep or less during school nights and sub-optimal sleep on weekend nights also had an increased risk of injury (OR = 1.53; CI = 1.07, 2.20), as did individuals who slept nine hours or longer on weekend nights but acquired insufficient sleep on school nights (OR = 1.71; CI = 1.22, 2.39).
Among working adolescents, teens employed in entertainment who routinely slept six hours or less or greater than six hours but less than nine hours, had the greatest risk of work-related injury, compared with well-rested teens in this occupation (OR = 3.61; CI = 1.17, 11.09). Construction workers who slept either insufficient or sub-optimal hours also were nearly three times as likely to be injured as teens sleeping optimal hours (OR = 2.69; CI = 1.19, 6.06). Among farmers, risk of injury doubled for young adults who had insufficient sleep some nights, but slept optimally other nights (OR = 2.05; CI = 1.37, 3.07).
Improved knowledge of these associations and potential risks could help to target intervention efforts for the prevention of injuries among adolescents.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2009. Major: Environmental Health. Advisor: Susan Goodwin Gerberich, Ph.D., 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 236 pages, appendices.
Langner, Deborah Merchant.
Sleep patterns and risk of injury among rural Minnesota adolescents..
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