Late-night adolescents at risk of depression

Saturday 2nd January 2010

Whilst it may seem like an impossible challenge to make your teenager go to bed at a reasonable time of a night, your insistence could help reduce the risk of them developing depression and suicidal thoughts. This latest study was conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and looked at 15,500 teenagers data to try and see what significance a good night’s sleep had on their overall wellbeing.

Amongst the study, half of the adolescents had set bedtimes of around 10pm, with a quarter of them having no set bedtime, allowing them to stay up past midnight. These teenagers with no set bedtime were sleeping on average 40 minutes less than other teenagers their age. These adolescents were then found to be 24% more likely to suffer from depression than those who went to bed at 10pm; and 20% were more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Additionally, the adolescents who slept for less than five hours per night were thought to be a staggering 71% more likely to develop depression and 50% more likely to think of suicide. One of the leading researchers in this study, Professor James Gangwisch suggests that the research shows strengthened evidence of the vast impact that sleep deprivation can have on a person’s depression risks and history.

Unfortunately, the world is changing and with increased technology in the bedroom, TV’s, mobiles and so on, teenagers are staying awake well into the night. Sleep is vital for our wellbeing and preparation for the next day, particularly in adolescents who need more sleep than anyone with the considerable changes their bodies are going through. Perhaps what is more worrying, is the adolescents investigated were based on data that was collected over ten years ago, and technology has advanced dramatically since then, possibly hinting towards worsened statistics if the study was conducted on teenagers today. Parents – set bedtimes could help rid you of the tired, irritable teenager

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