According to a new study by The Sleep Council, teenagers are increasingly sleeping less and experiencing lower quality sleep due to a huge increase in entertainment gadget ownership. In the study, almost all of the 12 to 16 year-olds reported having either a phone, music system or TV in their bedrooms, with two-thirds having all three. Additionally, 58% of 12 to 14 year-old boys have a phone, music player, TV and video game console in their bedroom. According to the research, this plethora of entertainment options is causing teenagers to lose sleep, with 30% saying they get just four to seven hours sleep, instead of the recommended eight to nine hours for this age group. Almost a quarter admit to falling asleep watching TV and/or listening to music or with other gadgets still running more than once a week.
"I am staggered that so few teenagers make the link between getting enough good quality sleep and how they feel during the day," said Dr Chris Idzikowski, a sleep expert at the Edinburgh Sleep Centre. "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. This is an incredibly worrying trend. What we are seeing is the emergence of 'Junk Sleep' that is of neither the length nor quality that it should be in order to feed the brain with the rest it needs to perform properly at school." Teenagers, on the other hand, seemed unconcerned. Only one in 10 respondents said that they gave it much thought at all and when asked how they thought sleep affected them, they ranked energy levels as being the most affected followed by mood, schoolwork, hair and skin, and weight.