Though the 24/7 culture of much of the United States certainly contributes to adolescent sleep problems, American teenagers aren’t the only kids who suffer the effects of sleep deprivation. Teenagers across the globe find their natural circadian rhythms out of sync with the people and places around them and find it difficult to get the quality and quantity of sleep they need to be their best.
Just as U.S. researchers are studying adolescent sleep issues in order to improve teen health, performance, and well-being, researchers in most developed societies are delving into teen sleep patterns and problems in their own countries. What are the results? Many studies have shown that sleep deprivation and the effects associated with it are common to adolescents no matter what their nationality. Differences appear to arise only from cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental factors.
One characteristic that teens in many countries have in common is their night-owl behavior. Researchers Miriam Andrade and L. Menna-Barreto found that 14- to 16-year-old Brazilian teens went to sleep later on the weekends than 12- and 13-year-olds and that once adolescents reached puberty their sleep onset time became more delayed. Studies in Australia, Japan, Italy, Finland, and Israel have reported similar results.