Depression in teens linked to poor sleep patterns - study

sad stressed teen
Even an extra 30 minutes can make all the difference. Photo credit: Getty.

Young people who experience very poor sleep are at risk of having poor mental health in adulthood, researchers have reported.

Experts from the University of Reading and Goldsmiths and Flinders Universities have analysed self-reported sleep quality and quantity from more than 4700 teenagers and discovered the significant relationship between poor sleep and depression.

Those who experienced depression reported both poor quality and quantity of sleep, while those with anxiety had poor quality of sleep only, compared to those participants who didn't report any anxiety or depression.

Researchers found that one group of teenagers in the study were getting around eight hours of sleep a night during the week, and just over nine and a half hours on a weekend.

Meanwhile, the group who suffered from depression reported having less than seven and a half hours sleep on weeknights, and a little over nine hours a night on weekends.

Dr Faith Orchard said that the study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, highlights how young people who have experienced mental health problems had "overwhelmingly experienced poor sleep during their teens".

"What's noticeable is that the difference in the average amount of sleep between those who experienced depression, which amounts to going to sleep 30 minutes later each night compared to other participants," she explained. "The overall picture highlights that we need to take sleep much more into account when considering support for teenager wellbeing."

She urged parents to teach their children the benefits of a good nights' sleep, which in turn could significantly improve their mental health.

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