Habits before bed can disrupt our sleep.
Habits before bed can disrupt our sleep. Contributed

Is lack of sleep turning our teens into killers?

IS LACK of sleep turning our teens into killers?

Researcher Kalina Rossa says dangerous driving, violence and substance use are some of the leading causes of injury and death in young adults.

The QUT Centre for Accident Research &

Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) academic is looking at how sleep loss, mood and stress influence the way young people make potentially dangerous decisions about high-risk behaviours.

Ms Rossa said even short periods of restricted sleep had a major impact on the brains of young adults.

"We know that sleep is really important for a healthy body and mind, and that young people's sleep is often compromised due to work, social and educational commitments," Ms Rossa said.

"We also know that when people don't sleep, it causes negative effects on their mood and how they respond to stress.

"This is even more evident in young adults because the part of the brain that is responsible for behavioural control is affected by sleep loss and happens to be still maturing."

Ms Rossa is seeking young people aged 18 to 25 years old who have no medically diagnosed sleep disorders to take part in her research.

"We know that people who are tired or moody may be more impulsive, or not think about the consequences of their actions," she said.

"Sleep loss also changes how people perceive and think about the world around them.

"A well-rested individual may think and act differently when presented with a choice to do something risky compared to someone who is tired, grumpy and at the end of their tether."

To take part in Ms Rossa's research, visit http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/sleepydaredevil/index.jsp - ARM NEWSDESK

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