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Teenage depression and suicide ideas have been related to sleep deprivation



An increased risk of depression and suicide thoughts among middle school children has been linked to inadequate sleep during the school day and poor quality sleep, according to a study done at the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (NASP).

In the study in order to ascertain the students’ preferred sleep timing (chronotype) and the amount of sleep they get on school days and weekends, data on their bedtimes and wake-up hours was requested. They were asked to report on their sleeping patterns as well as provide information on their perceived quality of sleep, depressive symptoms, and thoughts of suicide.

During the school day, around half of the pupils slept less hours than the required 8–10 hours. Additionally, a number of students stated that their chronotype—a “night owl”—is incongruent with the start of the school day. According to the study, students who reported having suicidal thoughts or experiencing depressive symptoms slept less each night on average than students who did not have any of these symptoms.

“The main finding from this study is that adolescents with short sleep duration on schooldays and poor sleep quality are at higher risk of having depression and suicidal thoughts. Given that nearly half of the adolescents in this study slept less than 8 hours on weekdays, this study highlights the need for interventions that aim at promoting sleep in adolescents,” says corresponding author Theresa Lemke at NASP.

Encouraging youth to get enough sleep can have a positive impact on their development and create healthier conditions. Because of this, it is advised that starting in middle school, school hours be adjusted to accommodate students’ delayed sleep patterns, which are already made even shorter by the early start time for schools these days.


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