Sleep problems and depression often are linked together. But which one comes first? Do sleep problems cause depression? Or is it the other way around?
The relationship is a complex one. But a new study in the journal Sleep shows that sleep problems in children may predict the future onset of depression.
The study involved 300 pairs of twins. They were evaluated for sleep problems and depression at 8 years of age and again when they were 10.
Results show that sleep problems at age 8 predict depression at age 10; but depression at age 8 did not predict sleep problems at age 10. There was a strong genetic link for the presence of sleep problems.
Parents completed a short version of the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire. It helps identify eight common sleep problems in children:
- Bedtime resistance
- Sleep-onset delay
- Sleep duration
- Sleep anxiety
- Night waking
- Sleep-disordered breathing
- Daytime sleepiness
The AASM recommends that school-age children get about 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Getting help for sleep problems early on may prevent other problems from developing.