Daytime sleepiness increases with age in early adolescence: A sleep restriction dose-response study

Ian G. Campbell, Christopher S. Burright, Amanda M. Kraus, Kevin Grimm, Irwin Feinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: Daytime sleepiness increases across adolescence. This increase is commonly attributed to insufficient sleep durations resulting from increasingly limited time in bed. We tested the effects of 3 sleep schedules on daytime sleepiness and whether these effects changed with age in early adolescence. Methods: In 77 children ranging in age from 9.9 to 14 years, objective (multiple sleep latency test [MSLT]) and subjective (Karolinska sleepiness scale [KSS]) sleepiness was measured following 4 consecutive nights of either 7, 8.5, or 10 hours in bed. All participants completed all 3 sleep schedules. The order in which they completed the schedules was not randomized but was accounted for in all statistical analyses. Results: Time in bed restriction decreased sleep duration and increased objective and subjective daytime sleepiness. Although the sleep durations did not change with age, the likelihood of falling asleep during the MSLT increased with age. Nevertheless, sleep restriction produced a greater increase in MSLTmeasured sleepiness in younger participants. Subjective sleepiness measured with the KSS increased with shorter sleep duration, but this effect did not change with age. Conclusions: Increasing objective daytime sleepiness in early adolescence cannot simply be attributed to reduced sleep due to restricted sleep schedules. We propose that some of the increased daytime sleepiness of adolescents is a consequence of adolescent brain reorganization driven by synaptic pruning which decreases the intensity of waking brain activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Brain maturation
  • MSLT
  • Sleep deprivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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