Staying up late to browse raises mental illness risk

September 2nd, 2010 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook London, Sep 2 (IANS) Staying up late to browse the web or chat with friends could cost you your sanity later in life, finds a new study.
Such sleep deprivation could explain why more young people are becoming mentally ill over the recent decades.

The study of 20,000 people aged between 17 and 24 years found that those who slept fewer than five hours a night were three times more likely than normal sleepers to become psychologically distressed in the next year, reports the Daily Mail.

Each hour of sleep loss entailed 14 percent increased risk of distress, reports the journal Sleep.

Prof. Nicholas Glozier from the University of Sydney in Australia who led the research, said: “Sleep disturbance and in particular insomnia is a predictor of later development of depression and possibly anxiety.”

Glozier, who researches psychiatry and sleep medicine, said: “Large numbers of my patients are on Facebook or the internet or massive multiplayer games until one or two in the morning but are having to get up at 7am.

“Many of these kids could have sleep problems as a result of previous disturbances,” he said.

“But what we are seeing are young adults who tend to start off with anxiety and body-clock problems and move on to problems like bipolar or major depression.”

Recent figures show that, on average, internet users in the UK are spending more than six hours each month on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Australia has the highest average use on such sites, at seven hours a month.

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