Columbia University Medical Center
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
June 8, 2009

Earlier parental-mandated bedtimes could help protect teens from depression and suicidal thoughts by lengthening sleep duration, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Tuesday, June 9, at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

 

The study by James Gangwisch, PhD, of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University Medical Center, 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. Adolescents with parental-mandated bedtimes at midnight or later were 25 percent more likely to suffer from depression and 20 percent more likely to have suicidal ideation compared with adolescents who had parental-mandated bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier.

 

 “It is a common perception and societal expectation that adolescents do not need as much sleep as pre-adolescents, yet studies suggests that adolescents may actually require more sleep,” said Dr. Gangwisch.  “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.”

 

According to Dr. Gangwisch, the study supports the argument that inadequate sleep could lead to 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 ideation.”

 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that teens get a little more than nine hours of sleep per night.  Tips from the AASM to help parents establish an appropriate bedtime for their teen are available at http://www.sleepeducation.com/Topic.aspx?id=73.

 

SLEEP 2009 will bring together an international body of 6,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.

 

More than 1,300 research abstracts will be presented at SLEEP 2009, a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society.  The scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.

 

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