Sleep patterns and daytime sleep-related behaviors in male and female Arab and Jewish adolescents in Israel

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While biological sleep changes in adolescents have been investigated, the contribution of culture has scarcely been addressed. This study explored sleep patterns and related behaviors in male and female Israeli adolescents of Arab and Jewish cultures. The School Sleep Habits Survey was completed by 143 Arab (mean age: 14.7 ± 0.5; 46 males) and 92 Jewish (mean age: 14.7 ± 0.5; 45 males) 9th grade adolescents in Israel. The survey assessed sleep and wake times, sleep latency and total sleep time (TST) on weekends and weekdays, daytime sleepiness, sleep-related problem behaviors, mood and chronotype. Findings revealed that, compared to Arab adolescents, Jewish adolescents went to bed later (P ≤ 0.006) and fell asleep faster (P < 0.001), woke up later on weekdays (P = 0.002), had an evening tendency (P < 0.001), yet lower levels of daytime sleepiness (P = 0.011). TST did not differ between groups. Compared to females, males went to bed later on weekdays (P = 0.014) and weekends (P = 0.010), and slept less on weekends (P = 0.039). No culture-gender interactions were found. In conclusion, different sleep patterns are apparent in Arab and Jewish adolescents of the same region. Earlier bedtimes and longer sleep latencies in Arab adolescents possibly demonstrate a conflict between cultural and biological factors affecting sleep. Whereas TST did not differ between groups, suggesting a common biological sleep need, chronotype, usually considered a marker of circadian phase, showed marked group differences. Gender differences were partially consistent with previous reports. Findings bear implications for purveying culture-specific public health messages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
JournalSleep and Biological Rhythms
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Adolescents
  • Culture
  • Public health
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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