Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tired teenagers prone to depression

High school students who don’t get the recommended nine hours of sleep per night are three times as likely to have depression, according to a research abstract to be shown Wednesday at SLEEP 2010 in San Antonio.

The study found sleep deprivation is widespread among teens in the U.S. 52 percent of seniors at a public high school in New Jersey reported excessive daytime sleepiness.

Students averaged only 6.1 hours of sleep on school nights and 8.2 hours on weekends. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports students need more than nine hours of sleep to stay alert during the day.

More than 250 high school seniors participated in a cross-sectional survey. Excessive daytime sleepiness was defined as a score of 10 or higher on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Mood was evaluated with a validated depression scale.

A study published earlier this year in the journal SLEEP further supports these findings. The article reported adolescents who went to bed at midnight or later were 24 more likely to have depression compared to teens with parental set bedtimes earlier than 10 p.m.

Some experts advocate pushing forward school start times to give teens more time to sleep. The author of the study suggests public high schools should regularly screen for sleep deprivation and depression.

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