Studies have shown that sleep in adolescents is characterized by sleep disturbances. Many teens resort to prescribed or nonprescribed medication to alleviate their sleep difficulties. Research suggests that sport and physical activity may be protective factors regarding sleep. The aims of the present study were to investigate the use of sleep aids among young athletes and non-athletes, and to identify possible factors associated with prescribed and nonprescribed sleep aids
35 young athletes (14.6±0.7 years old; 54.3 % males) and 30 young non-athletes (15.1±0.7 years old; 16.7% males) completed questions on sleep aids, the Academic Motivation Scale, the anxiety and depression scales of the Beck Youth Inventory-II, and the Multidimensional Self-Esteem Questionnaire, at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Mean scores for the school year were computed for amotivation in school, intrinsic academic motivation of accomplishment, self-esteem, anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms. Teens were each categorized as user or non-user if they had or had not used sleep aids during the school year. First, comparison of sleep aids usage between groups were done using a Chi-square test. Then, both groups of athletes and non-athletes were combined. Amotivation, intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, and anxiety and depressive symptoms were compared between users and non-users using paired t-tests
Results show that young non-athletes report using sleep aids more often than young athletes (X2(1,N=65)=5.205, p=.023). Indeed, 65.2% non-athletes compared to 34.8% athletes reported using sleep aids during school year. Users represent 35.4% of the total sample. T-tests showed that users have a significantly higher amotivation score (t(65)=-2.010, p=.049), more anxiety symptoms (t(65)=-2,480, p=.016), and more depressive symptoms (t(65)=-2,126, p=.037) than non-users.
These results show a high prevalence of prescribed and nonprescribed sleep aids usage in teens. Our results also suggest that sleep aids in young adolescents is associated with mental health problems and academic motivation issues. On the other hand, our results support that sport and physical activity may have a protective role regarding sleep. This highlights the importance to promote sport participation among adolescents.
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