New research finds anxiety over career prospects is leading teens to seek medical help to sleep better
Getting a good night’s sleep can be elusive at the best of times, but it’s perhaps no surprise that many of us have been struggling during the pandemic. A recent study from bed retailer Dreams has revealed that teens are being hit especially hard in this department.
The study looked into sleep habits and attitudes of more than 2,000 teens aged between 13 and 17 years old to understand the impact the pandemic is having. It revealed that one in three teens (28%) have suffered sleep problems, with a third (33%) turning to sleeping pills, CBD and counselling to help.
Looking at the causes, the study found pandemic-driven anxiety, stress and isolation to be the biggest factors at play. A third (30%) of teens feel more anxious or stressed now than before the pandemic and one in five (17%) have poorer mental health now. Worries about the future and career prospects (49%) and moving to remote learning (54%) were found to be the main causes of anxiety.
Looking at previous research carried out by the Mental Health Foundation and Swansea University, fear for future prospects was a theme with nearly seven in 10 teens believing the pandemic will make the future worse for people their age.
Sleep is integral to both mental and physical health and the NHS recommends teens get between eight to 10 hours of sleep per night. The study found, however, that a third of teens (39%) were not getting enough sleep. It seems teens are trying to tackle this problem alone, with as few as one in four (23%) telling their parents about their problems sleeping.
If you’re a parent keen to help your teen open up, in this episode of I am. I have. Psychotherapist Michelle Scott shares her thoughts on how to talk with teens.
With teens’ routines being overhauled again and again, clinical psychologist Dr Julie Smith says it’s no surprise they’re finding it hard to switch off and sleep.
“This is concerning, especially as their routines have been overhauled again. Sleep is a really important part of overall good health and mental wellbeing, especially for young people. It’s how our bodies rationalise our experiences and enable us to return to a calm, more meditative state.”
While teens are struggling, they’re also seeking solutions and are taking steps to improve their sleep. In a bid to support teens and those looking for support when it comes to getting more sleep, Dreams has created the Sleep Matters Club, sharing advice and resources.
Further resources on sleeping and supporting teens
If you or your teen are struggling to sleep, you’re not alone and support is available. Speaking to a doctor can be helpful to rule out medical causes and discuss your options.