Friday, July 24, 2009

Sleep and Depression

Many teenagers might resent their parents for enforcing a bed time, but a recent study indicates that children who get to bed by 10 PM on a week night are less likely to become depressed or have suicidal thinkings.

“This study bolsters the argument that a lack of sleep can cause depression,” said study author James Gangwisch, an associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

The National Institutes of Health study, released on June 9 at the National Sleep Conference in Seattle, says that depression and sleep can go hand in hand.

The survey also has a new spin on the sleeping habits of kids, including the effects of sleeping too little and too much. The information is based on the observation of 15,000 teens, 1,143 of whom had depression, and 2,038 of whom had suicidal views.

Bryan Carmona, 18, of Sunrise, said in a Facebook audience that he does have a bed time and that it probably has helped him in the long run.

Carmona said he understands that having adequate sleep is important if he has to wake up early for school every day; otherwise the days would seem longer and more things would seem to go wrong.

“Depression comes with the territory [of a] crappy day,” he said.

There is another side, according to the study. Some people who sleep too much suffer from depression, and have a hard time getting out of bed. In this case, too much sleep can be just as detrimental as too little, the study says.

The study concludes that one way to help teens reach a happy medium where they get just enough sleep is for parents to enforce a curfew of 10 p.m., since it is unlikely that school districts will implement a later school start time.

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