The Media and Sleep

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report by the Kaiser Family Foundation says that the brain’s ability to plan, organize activities, and pay attention seems to be the first system in the body which suffers from inadequate sleep. Too little sleep or poor quality sleep among youngsters can significantly impair immune function, which regulates the metabolism.

This suggests that inadequate sleep is connected with serious conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Too little sleep can also have a negative effect on creativity and memory, can increase accidents and injuries, contribute to school failure, and increase behavioral problems.

Even missing a very small amount of sleep can cause big problems.

One study reported that an ongoing sleep deficiency of just one hour per day over three days can result in significant problems with the part of the brain that controls our behavior. Another study found that a difference of just 25 minutes per night of sleep was associated with changes in school performance among kids.

A recent Institute of Medicine report estimates that the costs of inadequate sleep in the USA population run into the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. So, with today’s economic crisis, one method of bringing the national budget into check might be to promote better sleep habits for the entire family.

Since good sleep is a lifelong habit, improving children’s sleep would not only benefit them immediately, it would also have significant long-term impact on the nation’s health.

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127:2 (NIV)

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.