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Poor sleep linked to muscle dysmorphia among young population: study


A recent study has uncovered a connection between inadequate sleep and signs of muscle dysmorphia, a concerning trend among the youth.

The research, published in the journal Sleep Health, involved over 900 adolescents and young adults. Over a two-week period, participants exhibiting more symptoms of muscle dysmorphia reported experiencing fewer hours of sleep and encountering difficulties in falling or staying asleep.

Lead author Kyle T Ganson, PhD, MSW, assistant professor at the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, emphasised the significant impact of poor sleep on adolescents and young adults. He said, "Poor sleep can have significant negative impacts for adolescents and young adults, including increased negative mental health symptoms."

This study raises concerns about the potential exacerbation of functional and social impairments commonly reported by individuals experiencing muscle dysmorphia symptoms, along with an increased likelihood of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Existing research has consistently indicated that, on average, adolescents and young adults are not meeting the recommended 7 to 10 hours of sleep per night.

Additionally, numerous studies have linked poor sleep to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis. The study by Ganson and colleagues is the first to explore the connection between sleep and muscle dysmorphia.

The underlying mechanisms linking greater muscle dysmorphia symptomatology and poor sleep are likely multifaceted.

For instance, individuals with higher intolerance for their appearance, engaging in obsessive thinking, and experiencing anxiety related to body image and muscularity may suffer from impaired sleep. Furthermore, some individuals might prioritise physical activity over sleep, engaging in muscle-building exercises during evening hours to avoid interference with occupational responsibilities.

Ganson highlighted the potential impact of dietary supplements marketed for improving workouts and muscle-related goals, commonly used by those with muscle dysmorphia. These products often contain high levels of caffeine or other stimulants, which can negatively affect sleep. Additionally, the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids, prevalent among individuals with muscle dysmorphia, has been shown to have detrimental effects on sleep.

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TAGS:SleepPoor SleepMuscle Dysmorphia
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