Risk of Multiple Sclerosis Linked to Insufficient Sleep in Teenagers

Insufficient sleep during the teenage years may increase subsequent risk of
multiple sclerosis

Sleep is an essential element of healthy development for teens, yet many young people are not getting enough of it. While lack of sleep is associated with a variety of physical and psychological health problems, a new study has found that inadequate sleep during teenage years may increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, analyzed data on over 4,000 people who had been diagnosed with MS and found that those who had reported sleeping fewer than seven hours per night during their teenage years had a 30% higher risk of developing MS than those who had slept eight or more hours per night during the same period.

The researchers also found that teens who reported sleeping fewer than five hours per night had almost double the risk of developing MS later on. They speculated that lack of sleep in adolescence may be associated with a decreased ability to handle stress, which is known to be a risk factor for MS.

People with MS experience a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, visual problems, muscle weakness, and loss of coordination. While there is currently no cure for MS, treatments are available that can reduce its symptoms and slow its progression.

Getting enough sleep during the teenage years is essential for overall health, including reducing the risk of MS later in life. Teens should aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night. To do this, they should try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, avoid screens and activities that stimulate the brain in the hour before bed, and keep their bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.

Adequate sleep during the teenage years is just one factor in reducing the risk of developing MS later in life. Other preventive measures include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking. While MS is a serious condition, taking preventative measures now can help ensure a healthier life later on.

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