Sleep Lack, Mental Stress in Ages 17-24

SYDNEY, Sept. 2 (UPI) — Researchers in Australia say they have found a link between shorter sleep times and higher risk of mental distress in young adults.

University of Sydney researchers found a linear association between sleep durations of less than 8 hours and psychological distress in teens and young adults ages 17-24.

The study, published in the journal Sleep, found the risk of psychological distress increased by 14 percent for each hour of nightly sleep loss. Those sleeping less than 6 hours a night were twice as likely to have mental distress as average sleepers, and researchers suggest recent increases in the levels of distress reported by young adults may be related to changes in their sleep patterns.

“The increased reporting of stress seen in many countries over the past decade or two in this young adult population may reflect lifestyle or other changes that lead to too few hours of sleep,” lead author Nick Glozier said in a statement.

Glozier and colleagues looked at 20,822 young adults in New South Wales, Australia, who completed a confidential survey. Psychological distress was assessed using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale — a 10-item screening instrument.

Eighteen percent reported sleeping less than 7 hours. Fewer than 2 percent slept less than 5 hours per night.

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