Poor sleep poses mental health risk for three in four NYC high schoolers


If you don’t snooze, you probably lose.  Three in four city high school students aren’t getting enough sleep — and the lack of rest may be causing them mental health problems, a city report out Wednesday said.

A 2015 survey of 8,522 public high school students, conducted by the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, found three-quarters of city adolescents ages 13 to 18 got fewer than eight hours of sleep a night.

The research also found city kids with sleep issues were almost three times as likely to have emotional and behavioral problems, compared with children who did get proper amounts of sleep.

The report showed 29% of kids with sleep problems had those issues, compared with 10% of their well-rested counterparts.

The findings didn’t surprise students at Brooklyn’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Crown Heights — better known as P-TECH — where eight out of 10 kids the Daily News interviewed said they got fewer than eight hours of sleep a night.

“I am very sleep-deprived. I usually sleep for like two or three hours,” said George Cumberbatch, 17, of East New York. “I just have the energy, I don’t know why.”

The P-TECH junior said he plays PlayStation most of the night. If he gets tired during the day, he said: “Coffee helps a lot.”

Cumberbatch said he sometimes takes a nap after school, and he catches up on sleep on the weekends. For him, he said, there have been no negative side effects from missing sleep.

But Arianna Hernandez, 17, a P-TECH junior from Bedford-Stuyvesant said she pays the price for failing to get enough shut-eye.

Hernandez said she sleeps about six hours per night and tries to catch up with naps, but it doesn’t always work.

“I don’t usually sleep in class, but I do feel really tired,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t catch on in class because I’m really tired.”

Hernandez said she often stays up too late talking with her sister, who shares a bedroom with her.

On the rare nights when she gets enough sleep, she’ll have a productive morning — and start the day right by making breakfast.

“I’m in a better mood,” Hernandez said. “If I don’t sleep, the morning is a mess.”

A separate Department of Health survey included in Wednesday’s report found 11% of city schoolchildren ages 6 to 12 had sleep problems, with either fewer than nine hours of sleep per night or more than 12 hours.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children ages 6 to 12 should get nine to 12 hours of sleep every night. Adolescents ages 13 to 18 should get eight to 10 hours of sleep a night.

Most sleep studies focus on the drawbacks of too little sleep, but getting too many Z’s has also been linked with physical and mental health issues.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett urged parents to make sure their children spend less time on electronic devices and more time getting a full night’s rest.

“New York is well known as the city that doesn’t sleep, but for our schoolchildren and adolescents, getting adequate sleep is a key part of maintaining emotional and physical well-being,” Bassett said.

Article courtesy of –  http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/poor-sleep-poses-mental-health-risk-nyc-high-schoolers-article-1.3763045


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