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We examined changes in sleep-onset difficulties over time and associations with physical activity and screen time behavior among adolescents.
We used data from last four survey waves of the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study (2002–2006–2010–2014). Multilevel logistic regression analyses were conducted to explore associations between regular sleeping difficulties, excessive screen time exposure and being insufficiently physically active (i.e., < 60 min daily) among 33 European and non-European countries.
Findings indicate an increase in the prevalence of sleep-onset difficulties and in excessive screen time exposure and a small but significant increase in physical activity levels. Additionally, adolescents exceeding 2-h daily screen time had 20% higher odds of reporting sleep-onset difficulties, while no association was found for physical activity. The strength of the association between screen time and sleep-onset difficulties increased over time, which may reflect a change in type of screen time use (e.g., the increased use of easy accessible screens such as smartphones and tablets).
Effective strategies to reduce screen time are key to reverse the detrimental trend in sleep-onset difficulties among adolescents.