Teenagers and their Lack of Sleep

SBS Insight “Sleep” with Jenny Brockie, May 10, 2016

For followers of this blog there was nothing new in this program that we haven’t discussed earlier, but the information is worth repeating, and hearing from a different perspective, and from different experts.

I am very concerned about teenagers and children not getting the right amount of sleep.

It is this age when they set up patterns for life, either enjoying and appreciating good sleep, or treating it as something to do when you’re not doing something else.

There are many studies linking lack of sleep with mental health issues and anxiety problems.

To be perfectly frank, and many may not appreciate this, but looking at some of the faces in the audience on this show I can see definite signs of being zoned out, exhausted, vagueness etc.  Quite disturbing.

For those students that say they cope well at school on minimal sleep I wonder how much more intelligent they might be if they did sleep, what opportunities are being lost, and the not-so-long-term-affects of their sleep deprivation/sleep debt.

I have personally experienced many insomnia sufferers who just can’t be bothered doing anything about it.

Catch 22.

Lack of sleep definitely takes its toll on motivation, perception, alertness and engagement.

“Sleep is difficult to sell” … is what is being said, and I agree.

But there are much bigger problems down the track when the effects of lack of sleep manifest in car accidents, illnesses, inflammation, cancer (not mentioned on the show, search this site for Prof Charles Czeisler, Harvard Sleep Medicine – see the search bar on the home page), reduced grey matter in the brain, sluggish performance, bad memory, slow and poor healing, stunted growth, mental health problems, the list goes on.

Problems include, but are not limited to:

  • very poor medical treatments (including medications in 95.2 percent of the cases in Australia),
  • lack of talk therapies for people with mental health problems, and
  • lack of sleep education generally.

This hour long program is worth listening to from beginning to end.





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