According to a study, teenagers who don't get enough sleep may be at an increased risk of engaging in unsafe sexual behaviours
Latest findings have found a link between lack of sleep in teenagers and their indulgence in risky sexual behaviours.
According to a recent study, teenagers who don't get enough sleep may be at an increased risk of engaging in unsafe sexual behaviours, such as not using condoms or having sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The findings suggest that teens, by and large, are not getting the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, due to a number of reasons, including biological changes in circadian rhythms, early school start times, balancing school and extracurricular activities and peer social pressures.
Insufficient sleep may increase the potential for sexual risk-taking by compromising decision-making and influencing impulsivity, the researchers asserted.
As part of the study, the researchers analyzed data from a large, long-term study of 1,850 racially and ethnically diverse adolescents and young adults in Southern California.
The data were collected four times between 2013 and 2017.
Participants were, on average, 16 years old in 2013 and 19 years old in 2017.
The teens reported their sleep schedules on weekdays and weekends and whether they had trouble sleeping in the four weeks prior to filling out the survey.
The participants also reported whether they used alcohol, marijuana or other drugs right before or during sexual activity and whether they used condoms.
Contrary to what they predicted, the researchers found that adolescents who were short weekday and short weekend sleepers (i.e, those who consistently did not get enough sleep) were nearly two times more likely to engage in unsafe sex than those who slept in, on average, an extra 3.5 hours on weekends.
"Teens who were short weekday and short weekend sleepers were not getting adequate sleep during the school week and were not catching up on sleep on the weekends, and thus were chronically sleep-deprived," said Wendy M Troxel, senior behavioural and social scientist and lead author of the study published in the journal Health Psychology.
Note: Image -- a still from One Night Stand -- used for representational purposes only.