Sleep – are our teenagers getting enough good quality sleep?

publication date: Aug 28, 2007
author/source: Anne Coates
With so much gadgetry in their bedrooms many teens are staying awake longer or have their sleep disturbed by text messages or by leaving on a TV or computer.  Few are getting the right amount – eight to nine hours for this age group - of good quality sleep.

Research just published by the Sleep Council reveals some alarming facts.  Of the 1000 teenagers in the 12 to 16 age group surveyed:

  • 30 per cent achieve just four to seven hours’ sleep;
  • 23 per cent admit they fall asleep watching TV/listening to music or with other machinery still running more than once a week;
  • 98.5 per cent have a mobile phone/TV or music system in their room;
  • 65.3 per cent have all three of the above;
  • 40 per cent generally feel tired;
  • 76 per cent blamed being too hot or too cold;
  • 57 per cent worried about what they had to do the next day;
  • 26 per cent said an uncomfortable bed affected their quality of sleep.

Most teenagers did not place much importance on the quality of their sleep.

"I'm staggered that so few teenagers make the link between getting enough good quality sleep and how they feel during the day. Teenagers need to wake up to the fact that to feel well, perform well and look well, they need to do something about their sleep," says top UK sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre.

"A comfortable bed in a well ventilated room, free of distractions, is a good starting point in encouraging a good, healthy night's sleep. Youngsters need to be taught a healthy lifestyle includes healthy sleep as well as healthy food. The message is simple: switch off the gadgets and get more sleep."