With school, homework, sports, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs filling every minute of their waking hours, many teenagers are just not getting the sleep they need. And the reality of this disturbing trend is nothing short of hazardous. Insufficient sleep can lead to emotional problems, anxiety, mood swings, and even suicidal thoughts.
In a recent performance study on 12,000 teenagers in 11 different countries throughout Europe students who
experience suicidal thoughts were found to be getting an average of 36 minutes less sleep per night than students without such thoughts.
While 36 minutes may not sound like much, it amounts to just over 4 hours of lost sleep per week and close to 17 hours of insufficient sleep per month.
Aside from an increase in suicidal thoughts, teenagers who experience insufficient sleep have a greater risk of high blood pressure, decreased immunity, and disease.
Previous studies have shown that the average teenager requires 8 to 9 ½ hours of sleep each night. Today, the average student doesn’t even come close to this required and recommended amount of nightly shut-eye.
The reason this study was conducted across 11 different European countries was to rule out cultural or environmental effects and to see if teens in different climates need more or less sleep. While the common thread in this study is that all teens need approximately the same amount of sleep per night to function optimally, it did find that sleep patterns in teenagers were drastically different from country to country.
Teenagers in France, for example, tend to get the least sleep of all teens involved in the study. Irish teenagers, on the other hand, are at the opposite end of the spectrum, getting the most amount of sleep per night. And teenagers in Israel have the widest range of sleep times per night, varying from 6 to 9.5 hours.
The findings in this study encourage teenagers to identify ways in which they can increase the amount of sleep they achieve each night, and to create a consistent sleep schedule. With the medical community beginning to frown upon the use of prescription or even over-the-counter medicinal sleep aids, experts in the field are urging teens to use their ubiquitous smartphones to assist in the effort.
Although in recent years the world’s leading app stores have been stocked with only gimmicky and largely ineffectual sleep apps, 2014 is a new ballgame altogether. Last year, for example, neuroscience-based Sleep Genius came to iOS and Android, drawing national attention and critical acclaim in response to its impressive degree of effectiveness that comes with none of the potential side effects that come with many leading sleeping pills.
“Finally, a scientific and neurologically sound sleep aid that is easy to use and all natural with no side effects,” says Kamran Fallahpour, Ph.D, a Clinical Psychologist and Neuroscientist at New York’s Brain Resource Center.
For many youngsters the world over, Sleep Genius could be a viable solution to curtail the psychologically and physically destructive damages wrought by sleep deprivation. Indeed, the cause of the insufficient sleep for teenagers varies from teen to teen, and from country to country, however, the effects of insufficient sleep are the same.
While this study was performed on teenagers, the deleterious effects of chronic sleep deficiency are similar among adults. And in many cases, they’re even more damaging.
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