Teenagers sent to bed earlier by their parents are protected from depression and suicidal thoughts. A study by James Gangwisch, PhD, of Columbia University in New York, examined data from 15,659 adolescents. A total of 1,143 teens (7.3 percent) suffered from depression and 2,038 (13 percent) had suicidal thoughts. Teenagers whose parents mandated bedtimes at midnight or later were 25 percent more likely to suffer from depression and 20 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts in comparison to teenagers who went to bed at 10:00 p.m. or earlier.
Dr. Gangwisch noted, “It is a common perception and societal expectation that adolescents do not need as much sleep as preadolescents, yet studies suggests that adolescents may actually require more sleep.
“Studies have found that adolescents do not go to bed early enough to compensate for earlier school start times, and transitions to earlier school start times have been shown to be associated with significant sleep deprivation.”
The study supports the belief that chronic inadequate sleep can trigger depression. “Adolescents with later parental-mandated bedtimes went to bed later, got less sleep, and were less likely to get enough sleep. Short sleep duration explained the relationship between parental-mandated bedtimes and depression, functioning as a risk factor for depression and suicidal thoughts.”
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Later Parental-mandated Bedtimes for Teens Linked to Depression and Suicidal Thoughts.