No, your teen's not lazy. They just need the extra sleep and here's why
London - Teenagers often get little sympathy from their parents when they moan about needing a lie-in.
But now science may back up youngsters’ insistence that they are not being lazy.
A study has found that adolescents who get a good night’s sleep are more able to cope with everything life throws at them without a hissy fit – as famously personified by Harry Enfield’s comic character Kevin the Teenager.
The research was based on teenagers in China, where schools start at 7am, finish after 9.30pm and are described as being a "high-pressure environment".
Scientists from Shandong University studied 1 299 teenagers, with an average age of 15.7 years, for two years. Results were adjusted to take into account parents’ wealth and the participants’ gender, age and mental health.
The adolescents were asked to report on how many hours of sleep they got, as well as its quality.
They also regularly completed the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, a 10-point questionnaire that tests the subject’s ability to cope with stressful events.
This covers things such as whether they are able to adapt to change, if they tend to bounce back after illness or hardship and how well they can handle unpleasant feelings.
The students were assessed four times and researchers found good sleep equated to resilience. Authors of the study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, said: "The average sleep duration for our participants was approximately six hours and most individuals reported that they were unable to maintain enough enthusiasm to get things done and had trouble staying awake."
They said the brain areas involved in sleep and emotional resilience are closely related and this may be why a good night’s rest helps teenagers to cope with life’s trials.
Scientists added that greater efforts should be made to detect sleepiness earlier in teenagers as intervening may help to improve their mental health.