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Keywords:

  • emotion regulation;
  • sleep regulation;
  • weight regulation;
  • chronic care;
  • developmental neuroscience

Abstract

Self-regulation—the ability to manage motivations, emotions, physiological sensations, and behavior to meet internal and external demands of the environment—is critical to health and development. Adolescence represents a dynamic period of change in both the demand and capacity for self-regulation. As teens mature and become more autonomous, they are confronted with decisions in determining where they spend their time, what they eat, when they go to bed, and how they prioritize and pursue various social, academic, and recreational goals. We highlight opportunities to improve self-regulatory capacities and related health outcomes during this important developmental window. In particular, we focus on emotion regulation, sleep regulation, and weight regulation as three separate but synergistic self-regulatory systems that may provide unique opportunities for intervention to optimize health outcomes. To this end, we begin by describing developmental changes that occur in emotion, sleep and weight regulatory systems during the transitional period of adolescence, as well as how these changes can lead to profound and enduring health consequences. Next, we describe emerging evidence that indicates complex and synergistic interactions among these regulatory systems during adolescence. Last, we end with possible prevention and intervention efforts that capitalize on the interactions among these three regulatory domains.