This study aims to identify the prenatal and early life predictors of adolescence sleep problems.
Sleep data (n = 5081) from the 14-year (13.92 ± 0.34 years) follow-up of a birth cohort were analyzed to explore the predictors of adolescence trouble sleeping, nightmares, snoring and sleep talking/walking. Data from the antenatal period till adolescence were explored for identifying predictors of adolescence sleep problems. Modified Poisson regression with a robust error variance was used to identify significant predictors.
Our results suggest that about a quarter of adolescents in our study sample had sleep maintenance problems (nightmares: 27.88%, snoring: 23.20%, sleepwalking/talking 27.72%). The prevalence rate of sleep initiation problems was even higher (trouble sleeping: 40.61%). Our results suggest that antenatal and early-life factors, e.g. maternal smoking, anxiety, sleep problems in childhood, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, and poor health are significant predictors of adolescence sleep problems.
This study demonstrates the predictive role of prenatal and early life risk factors in adolescence sleep problems. It seems that exposure to prenatal and early life risk factors increase the vulnerability for sleep problems later in life, which is further supported by poor health and lifestyle choices in adolescence. Therefore, close observation and mitigation of factors associated with early life risk factors could be a potential strategy for preventing sleep problems later in life.