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Neurobiological prerequisites for an increased risk of sleep disorders in adolescents


Professor I. Kelmanson, MD V.A. Almazov National Medical Research Center, Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg State Institute of Psychology and Social Work

The paper considers possible neuropsychological prerequisites for common sleep disorders detected in adolescence. Attention is paid to the brain morphological and functional rearrangements during puberty, which are accompanied by a decline in the number of synapses and interneuronal connections. The above phenomena lead to decreased slow-wave activity on the electroencephalogram that reflects sleep pressure, a homeostatic process that causes the onset of sleep. The changes are observed in the circadian process, which are associated with decreased melatonin production during puberty, increased retinal sensitivity to light exposure during evening hours, and the longer circadian period of the sleep-wake cycle. The aforementioned contributes to an increased risk for a delayed sleep disorders. The continuing need for a teenager in 8–9-hour sleep with early awakenings on weekdays results in sleep deprivation that is accompanied by a risk for emotional and behavioral problems. The risk of sleep disorders is exacerbated by increased emotional reactivity and stress sensitivity, which are typical of adolescents, by hygiene violations, higher school workloads, and an irrationally designed school timetable. Possible approaches to reducing the risk of sleep disorders in adolescence are considered.

hygiene of children and adolescents
sleep disorders

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