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Sleep tight! Adolescent sleep quality across three distinct sleep ecologies

Silva-Caballero, Andrea; Ball, Helen L; Kramer, Karen L; Bentley, Gillian R

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Karen L Kramer


Background and objectives
Good sleep quality, associated with few arousals, no daytime sleepiness and self-satisfaction with one’s sleep, is pivotal for adolescent growth, maturation, cognition and overall health. This article aims to identify what ecological factors impact adolescent sleep quality across three distinct sleep ecologies representing a gradient of dense urbanity to small, rural environments with scarce artificial lighting and no Internet.

We analyze variation of sleep efficiency, a quantitative measure of sleep quality—defined as the ratio of total time spent asleep to total time dedicated to sleep—in two agricultural indigenous populations and one post-industrial group in Mexico (Campeche = 44, Puebla = 51, Mexico City = 50, respectively). Data collection included actigraphy, sleep diaries, questionnaires, interviews and ethnographic observations. We fit linear models to examine sleep efficiency variation within and between groups.

We found that sleep efficiency varied significantly across sites, being highest in Mexico City (88%) and lowest in Campeche (75%). We found that variation in sleep efficiency was significantly associated with nightly exposure to light and social sleep practices.

Conclusions and implications
Our findings point toward contextual cost-benefits of sleep disruption in adolescence. We highlight the need to prioritize research on adolescent sleep quality across distinct developmental ecologies and its impact on health to improve adolescent wellbeing through evidence-based health practices.


Silva-Caballero, A., Ball, H. L., Kramer, K. L., & Bentley, G. R. (2023). Sleep tight! Adolescent sleep quality across three distinct sleep ecologies. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 11(1), 448-460.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 5, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 21, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 24, 2024
Journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 448-460
Keywords sleep intensity hypothesis, human development, sleep quality, sleep ecology, human evolution, adolescent sleep, sentinel hypothesis
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Published Journal Article (383 Kb)


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Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Foundation for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (,
which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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