Teen depression linked to lack of sleep

Monday, January 4, 2010

The more sleep teenagers get, the better their mental health, says a new study from the Columbia University Medical Center in the US.

Researchers followed the habits of 15,659 adolescents aged 12 to 17 and found those who were allowed to stay up 'til midnight or later were found to be 25 percent more likely to suffer from depression and 20 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts compared with peers who were in bed before 10pm.

Teens who managed five hours or less per night were 71 percent more likely to suffer from depression and 48 percent more likely to think about committing suicide than those who got eight hours of sleep each night, the UK's Daily Telegraph reported.

VIEW GALLERY: Tips for a good night's sleep

"Our results are consistent with the theory that inadequate sleep is a risk factor for depression," said Dr James Gangwisch, lead author and a professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

"Adequate quality sleep could therefore be a preventative measure against depression and a treatment for depression."

The study was published in the journal Sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation in the US, teenagers need 9.25 hours of sleep each night. It suggests the following for a regular sleep pattern:

  • Make your room cool, quiet and dark and let natural light in upon waking.
  • Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time and stick as close to that as possible, including on the weekend.
  • Do not exercise, eat or drink a few hours before bedtime.
  • Do the same thing every night before going to sleep to signal to your body it's time to sleep, such as taking a bath or reading a book.

VIEW GALLERY: Foods to help you sleep

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