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Early Bedtime May Help Stave Off Teen Depression
Date:6/9/2009

se older teens probably would have later bedtimes. After controlling for these factors, he said, it was clear that a lack of sleep was to blame for the increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts.

"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.

More information

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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