Studies have shown that youth who obtain adequate sleep have increased school performance and better mental and physical health than those who do not. However, little has been done to examine youth’s beliefs and behaviors around sleep to inform how to optimize sleep habits. A new MyVoice project, led by University of Michigan medical student Arrice Bryant, draws on MyVoice data to explain why youth don’t get enough sleep, from the perspective of youth.
Drawing on real-time text message responses from 378 MyVoice participants, Arrice and her research team identified school and work obligations as major barriers that prevent many youth from obtaining adequate sleep, despite their recognition that sleep is important for many areas of health including work/school performance. Additionally, while most youth agreed with expert opinions to get at least 8 hours of sleep, the majority do not feel that goal is achievable with their current life circumstances. The study team concluded that youth-serving individuals should consider these beliefs and barriers to adequate sleep when creating programs to improve the overall well-being of youth.
Arrice recently presented this work at the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine conference in Seattle, Washington. A summary of her presentation was published in the February 2018 supplementary issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.