Generation Insomniacs: 80 PERCENT of US teens aren’t getting enough sleep, says shock new report – and it’s because they’re so depressed

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • About 30 percent of teens get a failing grade on a score of their sleep health
  • Over a third of teens recieving an ‘F’ grade for sleep reported severe depression
  • READ MORE:  Going to bed just one hour later is enough to make you miserable

Teenagers should get between eight and ten hours of sleep every night, but 80 percent of them fall short.

The National Sleep Foundation’s annual survey gave teenagers an ‘F’ grade for practicing healthy sleep behaviors, which is impacting their mental health.

Good sleep hygiene and mental health are inextricably linked, each one influencing the other. Bad sleep typically leads to depressive symptoms, and depression often contributes to bad sleep.

More than a third of teens have reported feeling depressed, and nearly three-quarters of them say that sleeping poorly worsened their mental health. At the same time, the vast majority of teens who slept well reported minimal to no depression symptoms. 

John Lopos, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation, said that amid America’s current youth mental health crisis, ‘it’s important to put more evidence behind the strong connection with sleep, especially in our kids.’

Less than a fifth of teenagers are getting the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep everynight. Those who scored the lowest in terms of sleep health and satisfaction were most likely to report feeling depressed

The Sleep Health Index measures sleep health based on three metrics - sleep quality, sleep duration, and disordered sleep. A 90 to 100 is equivalent to an ¿A¿ grade. A ¿B¿ is any score from 80 to 89, while a ¿C¿ grade runs from 70 to 79. A ¿D¿ grade falls between 60 and 69, while an ¿F¿ is anything less than 60

The Sleep Health Index measures sleep health based on three metrics – sleep quality, sleep duration, and disordered sleep. A 90 to 100 is equivalent to an ‘A’ grade. A ‘B’ is any score from 80 to 89, while a ‘C’ grade runs from 70 to 79. A ‘D’ grade falls between 60 and 69, while an ‘F’ is anything less than 60

The Sleep Foundation used a variety of questionnaires and indices to gauge teens’ sleep behaviors and their mental health, including the Sleep Health Index, which produces scores from 0 to 100 based on sleep quality, sleep duration, and disordered sleep.

This year is the first that the Sleep Health Index (SHI) has been used in teens. A 90 to 100 on its 0-100 scale was equivalent to an ‘A’ grade. 

A ‘B’ is any score from 80 to 89, while a ‘C’ grade is any score from 70 to 79. A ‘D’ grade falls between 60 and 69, while an ‘F’ is anything less than 60.

Nineteen percent of teens scored an ‘A’ for sleep health, 27 percent a ‘B,’ 25 percent a ‘C,’ 14 percent a ‘D’, and 15 percent an ‘F.’

Dr Zaid Fadul, medical director at online mental health provider Better U, told Fox: ‘It’s deeply concerning that such a significant portion of teens are not getting the sleep they need, which undoubtedly impacts their academic performance, emotional health and overall quality of life.’

The survey also found that 73 percent of teens said their emotional well-being was negatively impacted when they slept less than usual. This includes 15 percent who reported a very negative impact and 58 percent who reported a negative one.

Just 27 percent said there was no negative impact on their emotional well-being when they slept less than usual.

Those who reported being satisfied with their sleep overall were far more apt than teens dissatisfied with their sleep to report minimal or no depressive symptoms

Those who reported being satisfied with their sleep overall were far more apt than teens dissatisfied with their sleep to report minimal or no depressive symptoms

Authors of the report said: ‘The SHI is closely associated with depressive symptoms in that as sleep health increased, levels of depressive symptoms decreased.’

The survey also measured teens’ satisfaction with the amount of sleep they get and its link to depressive symptoms. 

One in four was somewhat or very dissatisfied with the duration and quality of their sleep. 

And those teens were over five times more likely to report moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms than teens who were satisfied with their sleep.

Poor sleep can lead to poor mental health, but the inverse is true as well.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2021, the last year for which there is complete data, 10.2 percent of high school students said they had attempted to take their own lives in the past year, up from around eight percent in 2019

The CDC also found that 30 percent of high schoolers said they had poor mental health ‘most of the time.’ 

For girls, the figure was even higher — 40 percent.

The mental health crisis is partly driven by near-constant exposure to social media, on top of the lingering effects of Covid-era shutdowns which forced young people to stay inside, isolated from their social circles.

Authors of the report said: ‘As the US continues to face a mental health crisis, teens are in a particularly unenviable position, facing unique challenges and with unique sleep needs.’

Depression

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