Sedentary behavior and anxiety-induced sleep disturbance among 181,093 adolescents from 67 countries: a global perspective

Davy Vancampfort, Tine Van Damme, Brendon Stubbs, Lee Smith, Joseph Firth, Mats Hallgren, James Mugisha, Ai Koyanagi

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OBJECTIVES: Sleep problems are burdensome in adolescents. Understanding modifiable environmental risk factors is essential. There is evidence that physical activity is protective against sleep problems in adolescents. However, the association between sedentary behavior (SB) and anxiety-induced sleep disturbance has not been investigated.

METHODS: Using cross-sectional data from the Global school-based Student Health Survey, we explored the association between SB and anxiety-induced sleep disturbance in 181,093 adolescents [mean (standard deviation, SD) age 13.7 (1.0) years; 48.4% girls] from 67 countries, controlling for confounders (including physical activity). Adolescents reported anxiety-induced sleep disturbance during the past 12 months, and SB, which was a composite variable assessing time spent sitting and watching television, playing computer games, talking with friends during a typical day excluding the hours spent sitting at school and doing homework. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted and a countrywide meta-analysis undertaken.

RESULTS: Overall, 7.8% of adolescents had anxiety-induced sleep disturbance. The prevalence of SB was: <1 h/day 39.9%; 1-2 h/day 33.8%; 3-4 h/day 15.4%; 5-8 h/day 7.4%; and >8 h/day 3.6%. Compared to <1 h/day of SB, >8 h/day was associated with a 2.27 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.98-2.62] times higher odds for anxiety-induced sleep disturbance. The association was similar among both sexes. The pooled odds ratio for anxiety-induced sleep disturbance when being sedentary ≥3 h/day was 1.42 (95% CI = 1.36-1.48) with only a small degree of between-country heterogeneity (I2 = 41.4%).

CONCLUSIONS: Future longitudinal data are required to confirm/refute the findings to inform public interventions which aim to reduce anxiety and sleep disturbance in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine
Early online date5 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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