A third of teenagers have needed medical help, after not being able to sleep properly over the last year
Last updated 1 hour ago
Tomorrow it’s a year since we went into lockdown – for the first time – and many of us have struggled with sleep ever since.
One Buckinghamshire teen has been opening up about her struggles, as research by Dreams found a third of young people have needed medical help with their sleep.
- Pandemic has caused one in three teens to suffer with sleep problems
- Half (45%) are not getting the amount of sleep needed for good physical and mental health
- Teens are turning to sleeping pills, CBD and counselling to improve sleep and mental wellbeing
14-year-old Chloe told us:
“I was really moody, because of the lack of sleep. Constantly moody.
“Another thing which probably didn’t help was eating out of boredom late at night and they you are staying up more because your body needs to digest the food and it is just constantly a struggle getting to sleep.”
The new research commissioned by Dreams reveals pandemic-driven anxiety is the biggest factor causing poor sleep with 30% feeling more anxious or stressed and one in five (17%) reporting poorer mental health since the beginning on the pandemic.
Fears surrounding future prospects (49%) and the shift to remote learning (54%) were main causes for anxiety over the last 12 months, closely followed by changes to exam timetables (36%) and not being able to attend school or college (33%).
As a result of these anxieties and sleep problems, one in three (33%) have taken matters into their own hands and taken steps to try and sleep better.
One in 10 sought medical advice or took additional health supplements, and as many turned to therapy or counselling.
One in 10 have even taken sleeping pills to try and sleep through the night and of those who had taken medicine, over-the-counter CBD or supplements, nearly a fifth (18%) admitted to taking it every day.
“You know when you are trying to think about going to sleep? You’re like ‘come on, sleep now!’ but you are not sleeping at all? I got that all the time.
“Then you are up for hours and hours, thinking about absolutely nothing.”
Teenagers should be getting 8-10 hours a night
The study examined sleep habits and attitudes of more than 2,000 teenagers aged 13-17 years old to better understand the impact COVID-19 has had on youth sleep health and uncovered two fifths of teenagers (39%) were not getting enough sleep through the pandemic, with as many as a quarter (25%) struggling to sleep throughout the night.
NHS England recommends that teenagers should get between eight to 10 hours per night and seven in 10 surveyed agree sleep is important, with more than half saying it is critical to their mental and physical wellbeing.
Almost three quarters (70%) say better sleep means being in a better mood; while four in 10 say it makes them feel more confident.
In terms of education two thirds (69%) say it helps them to concentrate and 60% say it helps them do better at school.
Yet as few as 1 in 4 (23%) of teens have told their parents about their sleep difficulties.
Chloe turned to social media for help and found a doctor on TikTok:
“She helped me realise that doing physical activity really helps improve your sleep.
“That is because your mindset is opened, your wellbeing increases.
“Seeking social media for help is definitely important because you’ll be so surprised at how much help you will get.
“You also get to see other people around you who are going through the same thing.”
Well that doctor, Julie Smith, known as the TikTok Doctor, hosted a Facebook Live Q&A as part of Dreams Sleep Better Festival.
She was answering parents’ questions and concerns around teenage sleep health and sharing her advice on topics like anxiety and mental health.
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