Health is wealth and sleep plays a key role in safeguarding this wealth. Unfortunately, youngsters today often overlook the benefits of following a healthy sleep pattern. A recent research by the New York City’s Department of Health establishes this point further.

The study found three in four high school students in the city were sleep deprived. It also explored the interesting, yet alarming link between poor sleep and mental health issues.

According to a report released by the Health Department on Wednesday based on the research, 75 percent of high school students slept for less than eight hours on an average school night. Also, 11 percent of children between 6 and 12 years got less than nine hours of sleep, which is considered inadequate.

It also found children who sleep less are more prone to develop emotional and behavioral problems, including a higher possibility of depressive symptoms, self-injury, and suicidal tendency, compared to their peers who follow proper sleep patterns. Of the total students participated in the study, 29 percent of children with improper sleep had mental health problems while only 10 percent of children who got adequate rest at night had such issues.

Data from a 2015 survey of 8,522 public high school students conducted by the department was used for the study.

The study also found a link between sleeplessness and the amount of time spent on electronic devices. About 66 percent of children aged 12 years and below spent two or more weekday hours on e-gadgets, according to the health department.

“New York is well known as the city that doesn’t sleep, but for our school children and adolescents, getting adequate sleep is a key part of maintaining emotional and physical well-being,” New York's Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement. “As the City expands mental health services through ThriveNYC, we ask parents to work with us in making sure our children spend less time on electronic devices and more time on getting a full night’s rest.”

In order to address mental health issues among students, New York City first lady Chirlane McCray launched an initiative named ThriveNYC in 2017.

“As a former educator, I know how important a good night’s sleep is for a young person’s health and well-being,” City Council Member Mark Treyger told Harlem World. “Electronic devices can be a valuable resource, but they become a deleterious distraction when they interfere with a healthy sleep pattern. I commend First Lady McCray, Commissioner Bassett, and DOHMH for releasing this integral data and working to build the City’s capacity to help New Yorkers of all ages maintain good mental health. I urge all parents and guardians to set restrictions on screen time so children can get the rest that developing minds need.”

According to American Academy of Pediatrics, adequate amount of sleep for children (between 6 and 12 years) is nine to 12 hours, while adolescents (between 13 and18 years) require eight to ten hours of sleep.