A new study from Tel Aviv University says changes in children's sleep patterns signal before physical changes develop.
For the study, researchers analyzed sleep patterns of 11- and 12-year-olds, finding a link between sleeping patterns and the neurobehavioral changes of puberty.
Among the most evident sleep changes was delayed sleep phase, meaning later bedtimes and rise times.
Shorter sleep times increased daytime drowsiness, and irregular sleep patterns had children sleeping longer on weekends to compensate for shorter weekday slumbers.
Biological factors influenced the sleep changes, as well as psychosocial issues including schoolwork, social activities and technology distractions.
Researchers recommend parents stress the importance of sleep to their children and monitor their rest.
"It is very important for parents to be aware of the importance of sleep for their developing children and to maintain their supervision throughout the adolescent years," said Prof. Avi adeh of TAU's Department of Psychology "School health education should also provide children with compelling information on how insufficient sleep compromises their well-being, psychological functioning and school achievements," Sadeh added.
The study involved 94 children, 72 of which completed three assessments over a two-year period. Sleep-wake patterns were measured subjectively through sleep diaries and objectively through actigraphs. Several questionnaires were used to assess sexual maturation and puberty development.
The findings have been reported in a recent issue of the journal Sleep.