• Otávio Santiago

Teens' Brains Develop Differently Depending on if They're Night Owls or Early Birds


It's 11 pm on a weeknight and your teenager still has their bedroom light on. You want them to get enough sleep for school the next day, but it's a struggle.
Our new research shows what happens to the brains and behavior of young teenagers, years after they've become "night owls".

We found this shift in sleep pattern increased the risk of having behavioral problems and delayed brain development in later adolescence.

But it's not all bad news for night owls.

People's sleep patterns shift during their teenage years. Teens can stay awake longer, fall asleep later, and have a lie in the next day.

Many teens also shift from being a morning lark to a night owl. They feel more productive and alert later in the evening, preferring to go to sleep later, and waking up later the next day.

This shift towards "eveningness" can clash with teens' school and work. A chronic lack of sleep, due to these mismatched sleep schedules, can explain why teens who are night owls are at greater risk for emotional and behavioral problems than ones who are morning larks.

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