Study finds gay, lesbian and bisexual youth have greater sleep problems

Gay, lesbian and bisexual youth are more likely to experience sleep problems than their heterosexual counterparts according to a new study.

The report Sexual Orientation Disparities in Ealy Adolescent Sleep: Findings from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study was published in the LGBT Health journal.

Researcher analysed data on more that 8,500 people aged between 10 and 14 years of age, which is seen as a critical time for physical and mental development. They found that 35.1% of those who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual reported difficulty in sleeping within the last two week. By comparison, participants who identified as heterosexual only reported difficulty sleeping at a rate of 13.5 per cent.

Additionally, those who identified as ‘questioning’ their sexuality, also had a higher level of sleep difficulty.30.8% of those who answered “maybe” to the question of being gay, lesbian or bisexual also reported sleep difficulties.

“Sleep is incredibly important for a teenager’s health,” said lead author Jason M. Nagata, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, told NBC News. “There’s growth spurts and hormonal changes that help you develop normally.”

The researcher has previously found the gay youth have significantly higher levels of screen use than their peers, which may be a significant factor in their sleep challenges. Over stimulation and stress can also be major factors affecting sleep patterns.

He recommends teenagers should maintain sleep schedules and limit their device usage in the hours leading up to sleep. Researchers have also highlighted that supportive parents and families make a big difference too.

OIP Staff

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