Understanding Sleep-Wake Behavior in Late Chronotype Adolescents: The Role of Circadian Phase, Sleep Timing, and Sleep Propensity

Christin Lang, Cele Richardson, Gorica Micic, Michael Gradisar

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8 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Adolescents with a late chronotype are at greater risk for mood disorders, risk-taking behaviors, school absenteeism, and lower academic achievement. As there are multiple causes for late chronotype, the field lacks studies on the relationship between mood, circadian phase, and phase angle of entrainment in late chronotype adolescents. Three objectives guide this explorative study: (1) to describe sleep, circadian phase, and phase angle of entrainment in late chronotype adolescents, (2) to explore how different levels of lateness are associated with sleep quality, sleep propensity, and mood, and (3) to investigate the influence of circadian phase on bedtime choice and sleep duration. Methods: Baseline data from 19 male adolescents (M = 16.4 ± 1.0 yrs), who were part of a larger intervention trial, were analyzed. Chronotype was measured with the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire, circadian timing via dim light melatonin onset (DLMO), and sleep habits with a 7-day sleep log. Further questionnaires assessed daytime sleepiness, sleep quality, and mood. Evening sleepiness and sustained attention were used as a proxy for evening sleep propensity. Results: On school nights, sleep duration averaged 7.78 h (±1.65), and 9.00 h (±1.42) on weekend nights. Mean DLMO was observed at 23.13 h (± 1.65), with a weekend phase angle of entrainment of 2.48 h. Regression fittings revealed a tendency for shorter phase angles with delayed DLMOs. Further analysis with chronotype subgroups revealed that this was only true for light and moderate late types, whereas extreme late types showed wide phase angles. Even though daytime sleepiness and sleep duration did not differ between subgroups, mood and sleep quality declined as lateness increased. Extreme late chronotypes experienced higher evening sleepiness, while slight late chronotypes showed higher evening attention. Chronotype but not DLMO predicted bedtime on school- and particularly weekend-nights. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that with increasing lateness, the likelihood of experiencing poor sleep quality and mood disorders increases. As DLMO did not predict bedtime, our data indicate that the factors contributing to a late chronotype are versatile and complex, particularly for extreme late types. Further studies involving a larger and gender-balanced sample are needed to confirm findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number785079
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • delayed sleep-wake phase
  • depression
  • dim-light melatonin onset
  • evening vigilance
  • mood
  • school night
  • sedentary
  • sleep deprivation

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