A recent study published in the journal LGBT Health reveals that young people identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) experience more sleep-related issues than their heterosexual counterparts.
The research highlights the importance of addressing sleep difficulties in this group to promote overall well-being and development.
The study analysed data from 8,563 participants aged 10-14, collected from the 2018-2020 Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study – the most significant long-term research on brain development and child health in the United States. Both children and parents in the ABCD study answered questions about their sleep habits.
Results showed that 35.1% of LGB participants reported sleep difficulties within the past two weeks, in contrast to 13.5% of heterosexual individuals in the same age group.
Additionally, 30.8% of those questioning their sexuality experienced problems with falling or staying asleep.
The study’s lead author, Jason M. Nagata, spoke with NBC News about potential reasons for these findings and noted that LGB youth might face unique challenges such as bullying, discrimination, and family-related issues that can negatively affect their sleep.
Nagata also emphasised the vulnerability of teenagers to their peers’ opinions, making them more susceptible to mental health problems.
Dr Matthew Hirschtritt also commented on the findings, saying that poor sleep and mental health issues may be interconnected, each exacerbating the other.
Nagata, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, underscored the critical role of sleep in a teenager’s health and development. He suggested implementing a consistent schedule and limiting screen time before bedtime to improve sleep patterns.