Junk Sleep

Reuters reported today on a London survey that says teens do not get enough sleep because they are distracted by high-tech gadgets in their bedrooms.

The Sleep Council polled 1,000 teens aged 12 to 16 and found, on average, they get from four to seven hours of sleep a night, less than recommended; and most fell asleep to the sounds of a television or music player.

The study termed this “Junk Sleep,” the kind of sleep that has neither the length or depth necessary for young brains. Yet only 11 percent of respondents said they were bothered by their lack or quality of sleep.

Maybe this is why I felt so tired throughout most of high school?

Seriously, do we really need a catch-phrase for this, especially one that they felt the need to capitalize? I understand that people are more apt to remember a catch-phrase, especially when it describes something that doesn’t naturally lend itself to short, easy description. Add to that our culture’s obsession with inventing problems for marketers and manufacturers to solve (i.e. waxy buildup and, some believe, restless leg syndrome). A catch-phrase about a medical condition (lack of restful sleep) could easily spawn a generation of drugs to solve that problem, drugs that are completely unneeded.

I don’t want to minimize the sleep problem, but how many cultural references and catch-phrases can our language support before we fall into an apocalypse of idioms?

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