Published: 18th June 2020
Researchers find teenagers who experience poor sleep more likely to have poor mental health as adults
This study highlights that those young people who have experienced depression and anxiety had overwhelmingly experienced poor sleep during their teens
Feeling depressed at a young age? Read this carefully. Researchers have found that teenagers who experience very poor sleep may more likely experience poor mental health in later life. For the findings, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, the research team analysed self-reported sleep quality and quantity from teenagers and found that there was a significant relationship between poor sleep and mental health issues. The study found that among the 4,790 participants, those who experienced depression reported both poor quality and quantity of sleep, while those with anxiety had poor quality of sleep only, compared to those teenagers who took part who didn't report anxiety or depression.
"This latest research is another piece of evidence to show that there is a significant link between sleep and mental health for teenagers," said study researcher Faith Orchard from the University of Reading in the UK. This study highlights that those young people who have experienced depression and anxiety had overwhelmingly experienced poor sleep during their teens. "What's noticeable is that the difference in the average amount of sleep between those who experienced depression, which amounts to going to sleep 30 minutes later each night compared to other participants," Orchard added.
Within the data, there were some participants who reported hugely worse quality and quantity of sleep, and the overall picture highlights that we need to take sleep much more into account when considering support for teenager wellbeing." According to the study, teens were asked to self-report on sleep quality and quantity over a series of issues, and the researchers found that the control group of teenagers were on average getting around eight hours of sleep a night on school nights and a little over nine and half hours sleep on weekends.
Meanwhile, the group, which had a depressive diagnosis was getting less than seven and a half hours sleep on weeknights and just over nine hours sleep on weekends. "The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adolescents aged between 14-17 years typically need around 8-10 hours of sleep each night," said study co-author Alice Gregory from Goldsmiths University in the UK. "What is notable here is that the group with a diagnosis of depression most clearly fell outside of these recommendations during the week -- getting on average 7.25 hours of sleep on each school night," Gregory added.