|The earlier to bed, the healthier the head|
> The earlier to bed, the healthier the head
The earlier to bed, the healthier the head
Teens allowed to go to bed after midnight were almost a quarter
- 24 per cent - more likely to suffer from depression and a fifth more
likely to think about self harm than those who were set bedtimes of
10pm or earlier.
Researchers studied more than 15,000 students and their parents at US schools from age 12 to 17.
The average sleep duration was seven hours and 53 minutes, against the nine or more hours of nightly sleep recommended for adolescents.
Those with a bedtime or 10pm or earlier slept on average eight hours and ten minutes - 33 minutes longer than those who went to bed at 11pm, and 40 minutes more than those who went to bed past midnight.
Dr James Gangwisch, lead author and a professor at Columbia University College
of Physicians and Surgeons 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 depression and a treatment for depression."
Of the parents questioned, 54 per cent of parents said their child had to go to bed by 10pm or earlier on weeknights, 21 per cent reported setting a bedtime of 11pm, and 25 per cent reported setting a bedtime of midnight or later.
The researchers believe that sleep deprivation is directly linked to depression and suicidal thoughts, leaving the youngsters less able to cope with daily stress and with more difficulties in engaging with peers and adults.
It is also more likely to make them moody.
The research backs up previous findings that showed that having trouble sleeping can literally drive you mad.
Insomnia and other sleep-related problems could lead to illnesses including
psychiatric conditions, attention deficit disorder, post traumatic stress
and depression, research suggests.
Sleep problems have long been linked to mental health conditions, but they were thought to be a side effect of the disease. Now, however, scientists at Harvard believe that sleeping difficulties could be the causes of some mental health problems.
Other studies have shown that treating patients with sleeping pills can alleviate their depression, according to the article in New Scientist magazine.
Some scientists suggest that a lack of sleep can cause fluctuations in hormones in the body, including those which relate to how we deal with stress.
They also believe that dreaming about problems can help the body to
process painful memories and promote good mental health.