The Week in Sleep News: February 9, 2024

A new study shows the consequences of being glued to your phone when you're a parent of a teen.

Two people sitting up in bed reading newspapers. Text reads: "Sleep News Week of February 9, 2024

This week in sleep news…

Long and irregular work hours may impair sleep

Those who work shift work or irregular hours are more likely to have worse quality and quantity of sleep compared to those who work a typical 35-to-40-hour week, according to a new study. The study published in BMC Public Health analyzed the work and sleep patterns of over 25,000 people between 2012 and 2017.

The researchers found that compared to people who worked the standard 35-to-40-hour week, those working 55 hours a week or more had the poorest sleep, including short sleep (less than seven hours) and sleep disturbance. Those who worked most or all weekends and nonstandard patterns, like shifts, also experienced sleep disturbance and either short sleep or long sleep (more than eight hours a night).

Police violence linked to poor sleep in Black adults

Black adults who are exposed to news of police killings of unarmed Black people are more likely to suffer from poor sleep in subsequent months than white adults, according to a study published recently in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The findings looked at survey results about sleep duration from 2013 through 2019 from two U.S. databases. Even at the baseline, Black participants were more likely to report getting less sleep than white participants. 46% reported short sleep (getting less than seven hours of sleep a night), compared to 33% of white participants. About 18% of Black respondents reported getting very shot sleep (less than six hours of sleep a night), compared to 10% of white respondents.

The researchers then looked at what happened to sleep after 331 police-involved killings of unarmed Black people. They found an increase in short sleep increased by 2.7%, and reports of very short sleep increased by 6.5% in the six months after police killings in those states, the study found.

Teens with parents who ignore them in favor of their phones have worse sleep

Paying excessive attention to your phone as a parent may have consequences for your teen’s sleep, according to a new study. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, looked at assessments of parental phubbing (when parents ignore their children in favor of their smartphones), negative emotions, self-control, and sleep quality problems from 781 students ages 12 to 18. The results showed that adolescents who reported higher levels of parental phubbing were more likely to experience negative emotions and sleep problems. Interestingly, parental phubbing was not linked to the adolescents’ self-control.

In fun sleep news...

A sleeping polar bear was crowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award. The amateur photographer Nima Sarikhani captured the photo of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. While keeping your bedroom cool is a great sleep hack, we suggest iceberg naps to the polar bears.

A polar bear sleeping on an iceberg
Nima Sarikhani // Natural History Museum