Although short total sleep time (TST) is associated with increased anxious symptoms in adolescents, it is unknown whether social jetlag, a misalignment between sleep timing on the weekend and school week, is independently associated with anxious symptoms. In the current study, sleep timing, anxious symptoms, and demographic information were assessed from 3097 adolescents (48% female, mean ± SD age 15.59 ± .77 years) from the age 15 wave of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Social jetlag was calculated as the absolute value of the midpoint of sleep on the weekend minus the midpoint of sleep during the school week. Anxious symptoms were measured through the 6-item anxiety subscale of the Brief Symptom Inventory 18. We assessed associations between sleep variables and anxious symptoms using multiple linear regression. Adjusted analyses controlled for sex, race/ethnicity, age in years, body mass index percentile, number of other children below the age of 18 in the household, and primary caregiver (PCG) married/cohabiting with youth’s biological parent, PCG employment status, PCG household income and PCG education level. In fully adjusted models (R2 = .034), school night TST (b = −.04, ∆R2 = .005, p < .001) was negatively associated with anxiety symptoms, while social jetlag (b = .04, ∆R2 = .009, p < .001) was positively and independently associated with anxiety symptoms. Findings indicate small associations of school night TST and social jetlag with anxious symptoms. Thus, maintenance of optimal emotional health in adolescents may require both sufficient sleep duration and regularity of sleep timing across the week.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)