"Kids that have to go to bed earlier are getting more sleep," he said.
Pletcher said it's likely that a combination of factors accounted for the increased risk. "There's a bi-directional relationship between depression and sleep," he said. "Teens who get less sleep may be more anxious and more likely to feel badly. But, I think this study's findings also speak to a connection between the teen and their parents and their ability to work together."
Both Gangwisch and Pletcher agreed that most teens need at least eight to nine hours of sleep a night, and said that parents might underestimate their teen's need for sleep.
"Getting adequate sleep is a huge priority," said Pletcher. Besides increasing the risk for depression and suicidal thoughts, a lack of sleep can affect a child's focus and learning, he said. And Gangwisch said that a dearth of sleep is also associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Pletcher said that teens who don't get enough sleep may also be more impulsive.
"Don't underestimate how a lack of adequate sleep can affect everything from mood to behavior," he advised.
The National Sleep Foundation has more on teens and sleep.
SOURCES: James E. Gangwisch, Ph.D., assistant professor, division of cognitive neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York City; Jonathan Pletcher, M.D., adolescent medicine specialist, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; June 9, 2009, presentation, Associated Professional Sleep Societies annual meeting, Seattle
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