DR EDDIE MURPHY: We are sleep deprived especially our teens

Dr Eddie Murphy


Dr Eddie Murphy



DR EDDIE MURPHY: We are sleep deprived especially our teens

We are a totally sleep deprived nation. Getting a good night's sleep is the great win you can do to your stress management and resilience.


The absence of sleep is the biggest drain of energy particularly in teens.

Researchers have identified that sleep deprivation in youth is on the rise with an estimated 25% of adolescents affected by some form of sleep disturbance. 

Like babies, adolescents' biological sleep patterns change meaning they don’t fall asleep until later, making that 8am alarm clock for school a real killer.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers required between 8-10 hours of sleep a night for their minds and bodies to function at optimal levels but due to lifestyle factors only 15% of teens actually sleep this much.

Teenagers have delayed melatonin secretion at night and it is then elevated in the morning, meaning their body clocks don’t match their lifestyles with school commitments to rise early.

Teens need to sleep in on weekends. Help them by also reducing screen time and then practice what you preach.

Sleeping problems?

You may be considered to have a problem if you are experiencing:

• Difficulty getting to sleep; Restless or non-refreshing sleep; Waking frequently during the night or very early in the morning; Not being able to get back to sleep once you wake up during the night; Feeling tired during the day.


Most people will have occasional disturbances in sleep often caused by temporary stress.

However if your sleep is disturbed for over one month and and you answer yes to the following questions "Do you experience difficulty sleeping?" or "Do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep?" Then you may be experiencing insomnia.

Insomnia may accompany several sleep, medical, and psychological conditions.

Firstly get a check-up by your GP to determine any conditions that may causing insomnia.

Our sleep needs may change over time, especially as we age.

Learn to manage stress. If you nap during the day, accept that you will need less sleep at night.

Get fit. Do enough exercise to feel tired at night, but avoid arousing your body with exercise in the hours before bed (sex is an exception). Experts recommend 30 minutes of vigorous cardio- vascular exercise thrice a week.

Avoid caffeine within 2-3 hours of bedtime. Allow no more than two full-strength coffees per day.

Avoid alcohol within 2-3 hours of bedtime. Alcohol is a sedative, but you should not use it to help you get to sleep because your body may become reliant on it. Also, it may cause you to wake during the night and can ruin sleep quality.

Stop smoking. In the meantime, avoid having a cigarette for at least an hour before bed. A light snack before bed may be sleep inducing, but a heavy meal interferes sleep.

Sleep in a dark, quiet room with plenty of fresh air – cover unavoidable noises with music.

Keep the bedroom for sleeping and sex – not for watching TV, reading or doing work. Use a firm, flat mattress and a pillow that is not too high. Start going to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each day. This is part of training your body into a regular sleep cycle.

If you lie in bed awake for more than 20-30 minutes, get up, go to a different room do a quiet activity (ie reading or television), then return to bed when sleepy,repeat if needed.