Sleep-deprived teens find it harder to cope with stress

Nearly 70% of American adolescents lack sleep. Shortage of sleep and other difficulties with sleeping can lead to cognitive problems and poor physical health over time.

Now it seems that sleep problems or sleeping for too long can make adolescents more reactive to stress, potentially affecting academic performance, behavior and health.

The key could lie in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or HPA axis, a part of the neuroendocrine system that controls reactions to stress and regulates many body processes.

The association between sleep and the HPA axis has been studied in both children and adults.

However, what happens during puberty, a key period of development when both sleep and the HPA axis are undergoing significant changes, is unclear.

Sylvie Mrug and colleagues, from the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) and Arizona State University, wanted to investigate the relationship between sleep and reactivity to stress in adolescents, focusing on the HPA-axis activity.

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