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Not enough sleep for teens

28th August 2007

Researchers from the Sleep Council have warned that many teenagers are not sleeping for long enough, and often have poor quality sleep.

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Their poll of 1,000 teenagers found that one third of 12 to 16-year-olds slept for between four to seven hours a night. The recommended time is eight hours per night. Only 10% thought that having a good night's sleep was important.

Nearly 25% of the respondents said they often fell asleep "more than once a week" while they were watching television, listening to a stereo or with electrical equipment still on.

Almost every respondent said they had either a telephone, stereo or television in their bedroom, with two thirds having all three. In the 12 to 14-year-old age group, over half of boys said they had a telephone, stereo, television and games console in their bedroom.

40% of the teenagers said they frequently felt tired during the daytime.

Studies have indicated that a lack of sleep can lead to being overweight or obese.

Dr Chris Idzikowski of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre said: "This is an incredibly worrying trend."

"What we are seeing is the emergence of 'Junk Sleep' - that is sleep that is of neither the length nor quality that it should be in order to feed the brain with the rest it needs."

He said that young people should be educated about the importance of good quality sleep: "The message is simple: switch off the gadgets and get more sleep."



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