Thursday, June 11, 2009

Teenagers and Sleep

There's a good chance you didn't get enough sleep as a teenager. You stayed up late talking on the phone or watching t.v. (now-a-days it's probably the Internet.) That problem could be bigger than you realize. We talked about teenagers and depression earlier this week.

It looks like one reason for it can be a simple lack of sleep. They need at least nine hours a night. And if a teen stays up later on the weekends and messes with their circadian rhythm it can take a few days for them to get back on track. So it makes sense that teenagers always seem tired.

For millions of parents with teenagers who like to stay up late, getting them to go to bed at a decent hour on school nights is a struggle.. But new research shows just how important it is for young people to get enough sleep.

On a typical weekday morning Anjay Dandavati wakes before six , after less
than six hours sleep SOT Anjay "It's a struggle getting through the day sometimes." Parents just got another important weapon in what, for many, is an unending battle to get their teenagers to go to sleep earlier.
This latest study from Columbia University surveyed more than 15,000 teens and found that levels of depression and thoughts of suicide are higher in kids who have later bedtimes on school nights.

SOT Dr. Charles Bae, Cleveland Clinic "This is a good study that shows the relationship of actually not sleeping enough to mental health, especially in adolescents." Teenagers whose parents gave them a weekday bedtime of midnight or later were 25 per cent more likely to have signs of depression, and 20 per cent more likely to have occasional thoughts about suicide compared to teenagers with bedtimes of 10 pm or earlier.

Those are not huge differences, but experts say they are important nonetheless.
SOT Dr. Bae "In children and adolescents any amount of depression is serious and should be
looked at. And anything that can prevent it from happening short of medication should be looked at seriously."

Countless earlier studies have shown that adolescents don't get enough sleep, and the lack of sleep impacts everything from school performance to driving, and even weight control.
SOT Dr. Judith Owens, Brown University "The average 12th grader is getting something on the order of less than seven hours sleep when they actually need more like nine."


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