Already in January 2010, the journal “sleep” published a study of the Columbia University Medicinal College which stated that too less sleep might lead to depressions and suicidal thoughts in adolescents.
To determine whether sleep deprivation actually might lead to depressions, the scientists would have been forced to change the sleeping habits of the adolescents. But, knowing the disadvantages of lack of sleep and their impairment of health this was not possible due to ethical reasons. Thus, study leader James E. Gangwisch, PhD and Assistant Professor of the Psychiatric Department, and his team evaluated data from an older study. The evaluation of the long-term study concerning “Health of Adolescents” under the aspects of sleep duration and mental effects led to the following findings.
Almost 16,000 teenagers in the age from 12 to 18 years and their parents participated in the above mentioned study. Considering the parameters of the Columbia-University-study they noted that the depression rate of those adolescents who went to bed at midnight or later was 24 % bigger than of the adolescents who went to bed at 10.00 p.m. or earlier. Smaller studies, too, clearly prove that too less sleep negatively influences the mood of adolescents.
“Depressions and bad sleep go hand in hand. When teenagers suffer under depressions it is possible that this is negatively influencing the chosen go-to-bed-time. But it is very unlikely that this is influencing the parental decision, as well”, so Gangwisch. So, determining an earlier sleeping time is quite useful, even at this age. But of course, it is difficult to check whether the teenagers are actually sleeping or whether they are just wasting time with their computer, TV, mobile… Besides the problems of the sleep disturbing electromagnetic radiation as well as the melatonin-suppressing influence of the LED-illumination of the devices a further reason, why these appliances should not be in the bedroom.
It is rather counterproductive to force the own offspring to sleep. Constructive ideas like starting a test like to sufficiently sleep for one week and afterwards let the teenagers reflect their own well-being, mood as well performance is far more useful. Own experience is very impressive. By the way, an experience, that is worth-while testing at any age. In our achievement-oriented society you soon will realize the benefit of more sleeping-time: with sufficient healthy sleep you will meet the expectations of everyday life more balanced, more successful and above all healthier!