Early to bed, early to rise: sleep perceptions, patterns and related behaviors in ultra-orthodox Jewish adolescents in Israel

Hila Vidal, Tamar Shochat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Studies have described biological and environmental mechanisms underlying adolescent sleep, yet the role of culture has received little attention. Ultra-orthodox (Haredi) Judaism adheres to a traditional lifestyle. To examine how culture and lifestyle are associated with sleep, this study compared sleep perceptions, habits, and patterns and related daytime behaviors among ultra-orthodox and secular Jewish adolescents. Methods A sample of 178 healthy adolescents (116 ultra-orthodox, 77 males, ages 13–17) gathered via snowball sampling completed the School Sleep Habits Survey to assess sleep perceptions, habits, patterns (timing and duration), and related behaviors (sleepiness, mood, sleep-problem behaviors). Chi-square tests compared group sleep perceptions and habits. MANCOVAs tested GROUP, GENDER, and GROUP × GENDER interactions for sleep patterns and related behaviors, controlling for school start time, media devices, and habitual prayer. Results Compared with the secular group, ultra-orthodox adolescents perceived their sleep as more satisfactory (P <.05) and reported shorter sleep onset latency (P <.001). Ultra-orthodox males reported earlier bedtimes and longer sleep duration on school nights, earlier bed and wake times and shorter sleep duration on non-school nights, and less sleepiness and fewer sleep-problem behaviors (P <.05) than their group and gender counterparts. Conclusions Ultra-orthodox males exhibited early and regular sleep timing that may be considered unique among healthy adolescents. Our comparison of sleep and related behaviors in adolescents having common hereditary backgrounds yet distinct cultural backgrounds provides insights into the cultural underpinnings of adolescent sleep. Professionals who work with adolescents should be aware of changes in sleep in the cultural context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-464
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 National Sleep Foundation.


  • Adolescents
  • Culture
  • Lifestyle
  • Sleep patterns
  • Sleepiness
  • Ultra-orthodox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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