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Icelandic Teens Under-Rested and Over-Caffeinated

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Icelandic Teens Under-Rested and Over-Caffeinated

Photo: Elisabet Dominguez

A new study shows that Icelandic teenagers only sleep an average of six hours a night, RÚV reports. Researchers presenting at the University of Iceland this week suggest that Iceland either adopt daylight savings or start the school day later in order to allow young people to get more rest.

“On average, Icelandic teens are sleeping around six hours on week nights, when we know that they need 8 – 10,” said Erna Sif Arnardóttir, a postdoctoral student in the faculty of medicine at the University of Iceland. “It’s harder for our children to fall asleep at night and it’s harder for them to wake in the morning. It’s hard for them to get to school and take in information, and there is foreign research that supports the idea that we need to push back when school starts. Another thing we can do as a society is to think about sports’ time—when our kids have sports practice—and, of course, change the clock, since the local time in Iceland isn’t in keeping with daylight hours.”

As a result of sleeping too little, teenagers “naturally seek out unhealthy food” that has a lot of caffeine, says Erna Sif, but which has very little nutritional value. According to Ingibjörg Gunnarsdóttir, a professor in the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, Icelandic teenagers are consuming energy drinks more than ever before and energy drinks being sold in the country today are much stronger than they were ten years ago.

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