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Study links shorter sleep durations with greater risks of mental distress in young adults
Date:8/31/2010

y shortest sleepers, and doesn't appear to have a psychological impact in young adults in good mental health with moderately short sleep durations, such as seven hours a night" said Glozier.

In 2007 the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that 17.9 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years experienced serious psychological distress in the past year. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 26 percent of all young people between 16 and 24 years of age had a mental disorder in 2007.

Conducted at The George Institute for Global Health of the University of Sydney, the DRIVE study involved 20,822 young adults in New South Wales, Australia. Participants completed a confidential survey, reporting the number of hours slept on both weekday and weekend nights during the past month. The data were weighted to determine respondents' average nightly sleep duration. Thirty percent of participants slept for seven to eight hours per night, and 18 percent reported sleeping less than seven hours. Fewer than two percent of study subjects had an extremely short sleep duration of less than five hours per night.

Psychological distress was assessed using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10), a widely used 10-item screening instrument that evaluates a person's mental health problems during the previous four weeks. It includes questions that ask about feeling tired, nervous, hopeless, restless, depressed, sad and worthless. A high score indicates that a person is likely to be suffering from a mental disorder. About 32.5 percent of young adults in the study had high levels of current psychological distress at baseline.

A randomly selected subsample of 2,937 participants completed a follow-up survey between 12 and 18 months after the baseline survey. A new onset of psychological distress was found in 239 of 1,992 participants (12 percent) who did not report psychological distr
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Contact: Emilee McStay
emcstay@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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