Sleep Programme aims to tackle chronic lack of rest among our teens

Sleep Programme aims to tackle chronic lack of rest among our teens

We are being warned that a lack of sleep among young people is at crisis levels, with experts saying it can lead to depression, social isolation and a reliance on drugs and alcohol.

A new initiative, called The Sleep Programme, looks at areas including stress, diet, physical activity, drug and alcohol use in young people.

It has been launched today by the National Youth Council and Health Minister Simon Harris. He said: "Whether you're a student or in the workplace, people tend to live with the smartphone by the bed, or nearly take the smartphone into the bed with them.

"What this (programme) is tryin gto do is make our students a little bit more conscious of what they do in the run-up to bedtime."

Fifteen-year-old Shannon Lambert from Arklow is one of a number of students who took part in The Sleep Programme.

"I found it hard to put my phone down and not use it, until 2am," she said. "I had really bad anxiety and I think picking uyp the phone and looking at messages that people were sending me - it built up."

Child Psychologist with the HSE Dr Patrick Loughran said parents also had a role to play, advising: "Keep your supervision up, even with someone up to 6th year. We have to portect our children's minds and mental and emotional health."

The Sleep Programme is an attempt to address the issue of young people presenting at school and at the youth service "with low levels of school participation, with difficulty maintaining healthy relationships at home and with peers, and with low mood and self-esteem, all caused by sleep deprivation", according to the supporting literature.

The programme is available to download at a number of websites including here.


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