Mad, sad and hormonal: The gendered nature of adolescent sleep disturbance

Tamara Vallido, Debra Jackson, Louise O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Up to 40 percent of adolescents experience some form of sleep difficulty, with adolescent girls often reporting higher levels of sleep disturbance and daytime fatigue than boys. This article explores the literature surrounding female adolescent sleep disturbance. The findings reveal that sleep problems in young women can be linked to girls being at an increased risk for puberty-related fatigue, sexual abuse, a higher prevalence of mental illness and sensitivity to familial disruption, and increased domestic and grooming expectations. Implications for nursing practice include initiating conversations about sleep, sleep disturbance and sleeping arrangements when working with adolescent girls. Nurses should gather accurate sleep histories, provide adolescent girls and their caregivers with information and recommend interventions to improve sleep if necessary. Nurses should remain sensitive to the confounding effects of pubertal status, menarche and the cyclic release of hormones when designing and conducting future research into female adolescent sleep disturbance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-18
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child Health Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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