Not getting enough sleep can lead to worrisome side effects such as daytime sleepiness and even memory loss. However, did you know that it can be associated with other consequences such as suicidal ideation (thinking of committing suicide)? Studies have confirmed thatlong total sleep times and short total sleep times (TSTs) are linked to suicidal ideation among adults. The hypothesis that total sleep times also are risks for teens was recently tested, and the results are published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
Researchers used the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to conduct their study. The survey included school-based and nationally representative samples. Researchers analyzed the link between suicidality and sleep, accounting for age, sex, race and ethnicity, feelings of sadness, and substance abuse.
About 15 percent of students reported suicidal ideation, 10 percent said they had planned suicide, five percent attempted it, and two percent said that their attempt had required treatment. The teens that had five hours of sleep or less had a higher risk of suicidality than those who had a total sleep time of eight hours. The same goes for teens who had 10 hours of sleep or more.
The findings suggest that both short and long TSTs are risk factors for suicidality in teenagers. More studies need to be done to examine whether or not sleep duration is a causal or modifiable risk factor for teens.
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