Teens follow in parents’ footsteps when it comes to sleep patterns

Teens may work hard to assert their independence, but their sleep habits are influenced by their parents, according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study from the University of California, Los Angeles looked at 336 pairs of teens and parents. An article in The Wall Street Journal reported that these participants documented their sleep habits and daily activities for two weeks a year over a two-year span.

Teens tended to sleep 8.6 hours on weekends and about 30 minutes less on school nights. Parents went to bed earlier than their teens and woke up earlier, getting about 17 minutes less sleep on weeknights.

Although parents and teens typically didn’t go to bed at the same time, their sleep habits were similar, the article says. If parents stayed up later or went to bed earlier, teens followed the same pattern.

Researchers noted that, even after adjusting for other factors such as studying, the relationship between the sleep habits of parents and teens stayed strong, and the correlation was the strongest in larger families and those with greater parental support.

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