Sleep-deprived teenagers are far more likely to suffer from depression

Teenagers with set bedtimes are far less likely to suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, according to a new study.  Researchers looked at data from more than 15,000 adolescents and their parents in the U.S.


They found half of young adults had a set bedtime of 10pm, but a quarter were allowed to stay up past midnight and slept an average of 40 minutes less each night.

The study, released today in the journal Sleep, found sleep-deprived teens were 24 per cent more likely to suffer from depression and a fifth more likely to have suicidal thoughts.

Lead author James Gangwisch from Columbia University in New York, said: ‘Our results are consistent with the theory that inadequate sleep is a risk factor for depression.

‘Adequate quality sleep could therefore be a preventative measure against the illness.’

Professor Gangwisch added that a lack of sleep may affect how the brain responds to aversive stiumuli and hinder the ability to cope with daily stress. It could also affect judgement, concentration and impulse control.

The research, released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, reinforces NHS advice that teenagers need at least eight hours sleep per night. Yet recent research had found the UK’s adolescents are getting less sleep than ever.

‘The problem is that society has changed,’ said Dr Paul Gringras, director of the Evelina Paediatric Sleep Disorder Service at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

‘Artificial light has disrupted our sleep patterns. Bright room lighting, TVs, PlayStations and PCs can all emit enough light to stop the natural production of melatonin.’

Other distractions include mobile phones and instant messaging, which teens may use well into the night.

‘The early morning wake-ups for school mean they’re not getting the average eight to nine hours of sleep,’ Dr Gringras told the NHS.

‘The result is a tired and cranky teenager.’

Via Daily Mail