Poor sleep leads to depression in teenagers

Poor sleep leads to depression in teenagers

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How sleep affects adolescent psyche

Sleep problems are more likely to cause poor mental health in later life in teenagers, which can contribute to the development of depression.

A joint study by the University of Reading, Goldsmiths, University of London and Flinders University found that poor sleep greatly increased the risk of depression in teenagers. The results were published in the journal "Child of Psychology and Psychiatry".

Data from 4,790 teenagers were evaluated

For the study, the researchers analyzed data on the sleep quality of 4,790 participants. It was noticed that those who experienced depression reported both poor sleep quality and short sleep duration. Teenagers who suffered from anxiety, on the other hand, only reported poor sleep quality compared to participants who developed neither anxiety nor depression.

Relationship between sleep and mental health

“This latest research is further evidence that there is a significant link between sleep and mental health in teenagers. This study highlights that adolescents who have suffered from depression and anxiety have slept overwhelmingly poorly in their youth, ”reports Dr. Faith Orchard of the University of Reading in a press release.

Teenagers with depression fell asleep every night later

The difference in the average amount of sleep between the healthy participants and adolescents suffering from depression was particularly striking. Participants with depression fell asleep about 30 minutes later each night, explains Dr. Orchard continues. There were some participants who reported an extremely poor quality and quantity of sleep. The results make it clear that sleep needs to be taken into account much more in order to improve the well-being of teenagers.

Differences in sleeping behavior

The researchers found that the control group of teenagers slept an average of about eight hours of sleep a night when the teenagers had to go to school the next day. These teenagers slept just over nine and a half hours on weekends. By contrast, teenagers diagnosed with depression slept only seven and a half hours a week and just over nine hours on weekends. The depression group slept an average of 272 minutes or three and a half hours less per week.

Are there any restrictions?

The evaluated data are based on information reported by the participants themselves, so they are less accurate, but the fact of the self-reported poorer sleep quality and quantity was nevertheless significant, the researchers reported.

Treating sleep problems improves well-being

While poorer sleeping habits are associated with poorer mental health, the team can also see how treating sleep problems in young people with depression and anxiety can have a major impact on their wellbeing.

What to do if you have problems sleeping?

"Good sleep hygiene is important, and if you are concerned about your own well-being or that of your child, we strongly recommend that you contact your doctor, but any short-term negative effects on sleep are not a cause for concern," explains Dr . Orchard. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Faith Orchard, Alice M. Gregory, Michael Gradisar, Shirley Reynolds: Self ‐ reported sleep patterns and quality amongst adolescents: cross ‐ sectional and prospective associations with anxiety and depression, in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (published Jun 17, 2020), Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
  • Poor sleep significantly linked with teenage depression, Eurekalert (published 06/17/2020), Eurekalert

Video: 5 Health Consequences of Poor Sleep (July 2022).


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