As we’re nearing the end of Mental Health Week, I want to bring some attention to the critical relationship between depression and sleep, particularly in teens. I also spoke about this issue for Mental Health Week on Global News.
Most of my clients say they get about six hours of sleep per night, on average. Sleep is a need that we often compromise as we move through our busy lives. Adults often compromise sleep to extend the number of hours in the day when they can get things done. Teens often compromise sleep to spend time online, watch television and text their friends. With early classes in high school and university, staying up late can lead to sleep deprivation and an increased risk of developing depression.
A study by the University of Texas Health Science Centre found that sleep-deprived teens are 4 times more likely to develop depression compared to teens that sleep more. The study defines sleep-deprivation in teens as less than six hours of sleep per night. The researchers identified a reciprocal relationship between sleep and depression in teens, as they found that those who are depressed lose sleep, and those who sleep less are more likely to develop depression.
Many parents don’t know if their teen is moody, sleep-deprived or depressed when there are behavioural issues at home and at school. If you have a teenager who seems moody or irritable, consider how much sleep they’re getting. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention buy xanax online in us recommends about 9 – 10 hours for teens. Although this might seem like a lot, teens need more sleep than adults because their brains are still developing.
My clients in their teenage years say they usually stay up late using technology, which can reduce the quality of sleep aside from the duration. When we sleep, we release the human growth hormone (HGH), which helps our bodies have a more restorative sleep. For our bodies to be able to release optimal levels of HGH, we must be sleeping in a dark, cool room. Even the subtle light from your alarm clock, or the flashing light from your laptop can inhibit the production of HGH and affect the quality of your sleep.
Here are a few things you can try to get your teen to sleep more:
– Have them turn off all electronics one hour before sleep
– Suggest that they sleep with an eye mask to keep out any light and increase the release of HGH
– Tell them to keep a notepad beside their bed to write down anything they have to do tomorrow that they might be thinking about
If you think your teen might be depressed, ask them how they’ve been feeling. If they seem hesitant to open up, you can suggest seeing a therapist or refer to my book 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally. The tips I’ve provided here are a good start to help you create better sleep habits.