Teenagers Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep Have Increased Risk Of Depression

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Getting a teenager off to bed at a decent time can be difficult, particularly these days when technology like the internet and mobile phones allows them to be social round the clock either with social networking on Facebook or texting their friends. However, continual late nights could be damaging their mental health.

Recent research from New York, suggests that if teenagers don’t get a decent night’s sleep they are more likely to develop depression and have suicidal thoughts than those who do get a good night’s sleep.

The study was conducted by Dr James E. Gangwisch from Columbia University Medical Center and his colleagues and involved studying the sleeping habits of over 15,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 from data collected during the 1990’s from 1994 – 1996.

What the research revealed was that those who went to bed after midnight were 24 percent more likely to have depression and 20 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those who had an earlier bedtime before 10 o’clock.

The amount of sleep the teenagers got each night also played a significant role. Those who got less than 5 hours sleep a night had a 71 percent higher risk of depression and a 48 percent higher risk of having suicidal thoughts than those who got the recommended 9 hours sleep for youngsters of that age.

“It’s kind of a common idea that older adolescents don’t need as much sleep as younger adolescents, but that’s really not true–they still need about nine hours of sleep at night” Dr Gangwisch the leader of the study told Reuters Health.

The perception of whether the youngsters had enough sleep was significant too. Those who felt they got enough sleep were 65 percent less likely to be depressed and 29 percent less likely to have suicidal thoughts than those who felt they were not getting enough sleep.

According to Dr Gangwisch, lack of sleep can increase the risk of depression and moodiness and general ability to cope with normal stress and if the youngster is depressed it makes it harder for them to sleep.

“Getting adequate sleep is really important for our mental health as well as being able to focus and have the necessary energy and motivation to do the things we need to do during the day” said Gangwisch.

The research findings have been published in the Journal Sleep

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1 Comment

  1. Megan
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Great site :) Thanks so much for sharing all this! a lot of what I’ve read here really helped – thank you!

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