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Sleepless nights The reason behind teenage mood swings

07-09-2010

A study conducted by the Columbia University Medical Centre earlier this year, has found that teenagers who do not get enough sleep are prone to mood swings. The study asked 15,500 12-18 year olds about their sleep routine, 24% of those went to bed after midnight and were prone to depression and in some cases suicide. Shockingly, those who clocked up fewer than 5 hours sleep a night had a 71% higher risk of depression then those who slept the recommended 9 hours.

The journal Sleep found that young people who got their recommended sleep were 65% less likely to have suicidal thoughts or suffer from depression. This was mainly due to parental set bed times of 10pm or earlier, and a solid night’s sleep without distraction. Of those children that claimed to be depressed due to their struggle to sleep, there was a link between a lack of sleep and a low perception of how much theirs parents cared for them.

The persistent lack of sleep in a young person’s lifestyle, affects judgement, impulse control and levels of concentration, all things which are crucial in a young teenager’s development to adulthood. Regular adequate sleep mixed with healthy diet and exercise, can help prevent depression and lead to a teenager being ‘emotionally happy’. The lack of sleep was found in younger teenagers but the affects of depression found when they are older. This means that lack of sleep at a younger age, could affect them in later stages of their development.

Depression was found to be more likely in girls and older teenagers who don’t sleep, rebelling against set bed-times. 80,000 UK children suffer from depression, and they do not get enough support or help to prevent this, claims the mental health charity YoungMinds. Sleep could be nature’s best remedy for mind and body, so why neglect this at a young age with irregular bedtimes and sleeping patterns.

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