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

ess at baseline. Persistent psychological distress was found in 419 of 945 respondents (44 percent) who were distressed at baseline.

The authors noted that the relationship between sleep and psychological distress is complex. Although short sleep duration could be a real risk for distress, it is possible that sleep loss is a symptom of previous episodes of psychological distress that have got better, or that sleep disturbances reflect a comorbid condition that hinders distress from resolving. This study's findings suggest that 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," Glozier said.

According to the authors, broad approaches to increase sleep duration in all young adults are unwarranted. Instead, interventions should target young adults who have either current distress or an extremely short sleep duration. Other studies show that potential targets for improving sleep in this age group include delaying school start times and reducing the amount of time at night that young adults spend watching TV, playing video games and using the Internet before going to bed.


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Contact: Emilee McStay
emcstay@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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