Not getting enough sleep is associated with a range of physical and mental health problems that can interfere with current health and functioning, and have consequences for health and wellbeing later in life, according to Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC)*.

Poor quality or insufficient sleep can affect young people's performance at school due to its impact on attention, memory, creativity and learning (Gozal & Kheirandish-Gozal, 2007). Insufficient sleep has also been linked to poorer mental health and emotional regulation, and greater risk-taking and social problems, all of which may impact relationships with family, peers and others.

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In terms of physical health, inadequate sleep has been associated with poorer overall health and a greater current and future risk of young people becoming overweight (Landhuis, Poulton, Welch, & Hancox, 2008).

Children not meeting minimum sleep guidelines were more likely to:

  • Show symptoms of poor mental health (anxiety, depression, unhappiness)
  • Be late for or absent from school
  • Spend more time on homework
  • Have internet access in the bedroom or spend more time on the internet.

* Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is a major study following the development of 10,000 young people and their families from all parts of Australia. It is conducted in partnership between the Department of Social Services(link is external), the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Bureau of Statistics(link is external) with advice provided by a consortium of leading researchers. Click here to read the full study

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