<3>Do you often burn the midnight oil simply to play Facebook games or watch short films
on YouTube? A poll of one thousand teenagers conducted by the Sleep Council shows that
many teenagers today are damaging their health by not getting enough sleep and by falling
asleep with electronic devices on. According to the poll, gadgets in bedrooms, such as
computers and TVs, are fuelling poor quality “junk sleep.”
Nearly all the teenagers surveyed have a phone, music system, or TV in their bedroom,
and two thirds have all three and more. Moreover, a quarter of the teenagers surveyed often
fall asleep watching TV, listening to music or with other equipment still running. Their
sleep quality is affected by the non-stop noise from these electronic devices. As a
consequence, they usually only get between four and six hours of sleep, which is much less
than the eight hours most experts recommend. This may explain why many of them often
feel tired during the day. Ironically, only ten percent of the teenagers surveyed place much
importance on getting a good night’s sleep. This is an incredibly worrying trend.
Sleep is important for both physical and mental functioning and well-being. Previous
studies have suggested that sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal changes which tell the
body to eat sugary or starchy food to provide an energy boost. Hence, people who do not
get enough sleep have a much higher risk of obesity. Moreover, they tend to have bad
moods and poor concentration. In some cases, lack of sleep may even interfere with the
proper development of the brain.
Teenagers need to be taught that sleep is important for their health. They should
realize that when they sleep more, their body spends more time in what is known as “deep
sleep,” which is when the brain refreshes itself. But it seems advising teenagers to get
enough sleep is simply easier said than done.