The Importance Of Sleep For Young People

How much sleep do you get a night? Well, it's probably not enough! Here we look at the importance of rest in young people.

Most especially among the teens and the youth, the effect of social media on sleep has become a great concern.

According to studies, one in three of young adults are sleep deprived due to spending too much time on social media. Other studies declare that 87% of the students get insufficient sleep due to various reasons, not just social media.. 

Sleep deprivation begins during childhood and extends into teenage years and even after due to various factors.


School’s Out

Let’s begin with school. Most students get less sleep than they need once they start going to school and the situation gets worse during and after puberty. 

Here, the most important factor is that growth hormones are normally released during sleep and since the body and the mind grow the most during and soon after pubescent years there is a suppression of the growth hormone resulting in stunted growth.

To an extent our modern cultural environment and the education system is to be blamed. 

No sooner a child reaches a certain age, they have to wake up early to be at school on time. Then comes the load of having to catch up on studies at home and homework. 

Also over the years, interacting over social media has become an important part of life which further reduces the number of sleep hours. 

So the studies that say about 87% of the students, especially those in the age group of 12 to 24 are sleep deprived may not be entirely off the mark.


Paying The Price

This paper states, “Research outside the laboratory further suggests that long-term sleep deprivation puts people at greater risk of motor vehicle accidents and disease. 

“This is important because research shows that many people are carrying a heavy “sleep debt” that they have built up from weeks, months, or even years of inadequate sleep”.

The effects of sleep deprivation can be detrimental to memory, cognitive abilities concentration, moods, the immunity system, cardiac health, weight and even sex drive. This study goes on to say that 1 in 10 youth suffer from elevated blood pressure or hypertension. 

Even though this particular paper deals with cognitive performance as related to sleep it also talks about the relationship between sleep and the quality of life: “A person’s quality of life can be disrupted due to many different reasons. One important yet underestimated cause for that is sleep loss (National Sleep Foundation 2007). 

“Working hours are constantly increasing along with an emphasis on active leisure. In certain jobs, people face sleep restriction. Some professions such as health care, security and transportation require working at night. 

“In such fields, the effect of acute total sleep deprivation (SD) on performance is crucial. Furthermore, people tend to stretch their capacity and compromise their nightly sleep, thus becoming chronically sleep deprived.”

There are more studies on the subject and, if not alarming, it is certainly of great concern that an estimated 24% of young people suffer from some form of insomnia.


More Sleep, More Productivity?

Less sleep also results in heavier healthcare costs and loss of productivity. A case in point would be that the French work an average of 28.2 hours per week and the average person in France gets almost nine hours every night. 

No wonder they are among the highest producing nations on a per hour basis. The country also scores very well on the quality of life.

There’s usually no single magic bullet to deal with anything but in this case good sleep in sufficient quantity would likely be the magic bullet towards improving the quality of life.

More from our author Martina Advaney here:

The Art of Not Overthinking

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