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Sleep Disorders Among Young Adults

Sleep disorders have become an increasing phenomenon that many people around the world are suffering from. The most vulnerable age group is the younger generation, especially college students. Abundant medical evidence shows that this age group is most affected because of the stress of life they are experiencing. Others believe that the digitized and cellular networks in which we all live interfere with our natural sleep and mental abilities. One of the most important demographics in countries is the youth, which makes up the majority of their population; about 70% in most countries. Unfortunately, it has recently been reported that most college students suffer from sleep deprivation. Therefore, some of the parenteral roles should be there to manage their lives and sleep, as it can adversely affect their daily lives and academic performance.


Sleep studies have a history that can go back to the 19th century when European researchers first discovered them. But in the 1920s, the field experienced a revolutionary era as this was the time when Professor Nathaniel Kleitman, the father of modern sleep science research, introduced and categorized sleep disorders to the public in more detail, and it finally became one of the major medical sciences nowadays. 


A plethora of social science and medical research studies have been conducted on sleep disorders in young adolescents. A recent study that was published in Qatar Tribune was an investigative experiment that was conducted in Qatar by an ambitious pharmacy student on her master thesis and was supervised by the Qatar University. Interestingly, the survey found that two in three students suffer from sleep diseases. In fact, that percentage is increasing, and for the same reason. Many psychology researchers have also emphasized the dangers of abuse of social media and the Internet and how it affects mental and physical health.


Normal sleep time is about 7-9 hours a day among this young age group. Therefore, if time is reduced, the person may be diagnosed with a sleep problem. There are various causes of changes in sleep time, but they can be divided into two main areas. 

  1. Lifestyle/Occupation (long working hours, jet lag,  irregular sleep) 
  2. Sleep disorders (insomnia, sleep disorders, etc.) and circadian rhythm disorders. Insomnia is reportedly increased in the last few years but to a lesser extent than work or lifestyle changes. Young adults sleep less, study more, get up later, watch TV, and use the internet. 


Some social media debates have tried to answer questions about the health effects of these sleep disorders and the number of hours of sleep everyone needs. People on social platforms talk about celebrity sleep habits and how little they sleep. Some world leaders have stated several times that they sleep less than normal hours. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reiterates in many interviews that he only needs 5 hours of sleep a day. Another example is in the sporting field where the basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, told the media that he only slept four hours a day before the big game.


However, many scientific theories support that lack of sleep has a wide range of effects on human health, including obesity in adults and children, diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and depression. The shorter or longer you sleep, the more side effects you may feel as every teen should get optimal hours of sleep to avoid adverse health effects. This has been scientifically termed as U-shaped relationships.


Another study from ​​the Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research linked sleep deprivation to weight gain. The shorter you sleep, the more weight you can gain. Sleep deprivation was found to be associated with low levels of leptin, a hormone produced by adipose tissue that suppresses appetite, and high levels of ghrelin, a peptide that stimulates appetite.


Among these, young adults may need to avoid several bad habits and the elders are responsible for overseeing and guiding them. Encourage students to go to bed early and to organize their studies and social activities. Avoid afternoon and evening coffee, stay away from the digital world and relax quietly for 15-30 minutes. In addition, promoting a sleep culture is important for improving performance. By using modern technologies and media to raise awareness, young people can be educated and encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle. Unhealthy sleep habits can create a generation of sleep deprivation, which is the real danger for this generation.

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