Sleep essential for teens’ mental health

Arecent study conducted by the University of South Australia (UniSA) has found that insufficient sleep negatively affects the mental health of adolescents. In a research paper published in February, UniSA sleep researchers Dr. Alex Agostini and Dr. Stephanie Centofanti write that it’s imperative that parents and medical practitioners become aware of the bi-directional relationship between sleep and mental health, particularly across the teenage years.

“For teenagers, sleep is especially critical because they’re at an age where they’re going through a whole range of physical, social, and development changes, all of which depend on sufficient sleep. Research shows that teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep each night. Without this, they’re less able to deal with stressors, such as bullying and social pressures, and run the risk of developing behavioural problems, as well as anxiety and depression,” says Dr. Agostini adding that if sleep drops to less than six hours per night, teens are twice as likely to engage in risky behaviour such as dangerous driving, marijuana, alcohol or tobacco use, risky sexual behaviour, and physical aggression.

Also read: Sleep disturbances linked to psychosocial impairments

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