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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

Earlier Bedtimes May Fight Teen Depression

Adolescents whose parents set earlier bedtimes are significantly less likely to suffer from depression or have suicidal thoughts compared to youngsters who hit the sack later, new research indicates.

Youngsters in the study whose parents set bedtimes of midnight or later were 24% more likely to suffer from depression and 20% more apt to have thoughts of suicide, compared to youngsters with bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier, researchers report in the Jan. 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

This suggests sufficient sleep may offer youngsters some protection from depression and thoughts of suicide, the researchers say.

Adolescents who reported they usually sleep five or fewer hours per night were 71% more likely to report depression, and 48% more likely to have thoughts of committing suicide, compared to young people reporting eight hours of sleep nightly, the study shows.

"Our results are consistent with the theory that inadequate sleep is a risk factor for depression," says study researcher James E. Gangwisch, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

Source: WebMD