Major study reveals Sleep Duration link to Mental Ill Health

Healthy young adults that are sleeping less than five hours a night are three times more likely to develop mental ill health than those sleeping eight to nine hours according to a new study undertaken by the George Institute for Global Health.

A survey of just under twenty thousand 17-24 year olds across New South Wales, which ran for 18 months, revealed startling new evidence linking short sleep duration deprivation to mental ill health.

Professor Nick Glozier, lead author of the study, said “The study has revealed a number of links between mental health problems and lack of sleep among young adults.” The study, published in the journal SLEEP, also showed that mental ill health is more likely to develop into a chronic problem if a person is sleeping fewer than average hours.

According to Professor Glozier, “Sleep disturbance is a key symptom in mental disorders such as depression and commonly an early sign or “prodrome” of the illness. There is also fairly consistent evidence that insufficient sleep also increases risk of cardiovascular illness, and can lead to weight gain in young people.”

Professor Glozier added, “Changes in lifestyle patterns are a contributing factor to these problems but it’s evident that disrupted sleep patterns are a major contributor to many types of mental health conditions.”

The study was conducted as part of collaborative work undertaken by the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Institute and the George Institute for Global Health.

The study is available to download here.