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Lack of sleep may be harmful to a teen's well-being

Sleep experts like Stanford's William Dement, MD, have been talking for years about the dangers of sleep deprivation among teenagers. (Dement discussed the issue in this 2007 Palo Alto Weekly article.) Now there is further evidence that lack of sleep can take a real toll on a teen's mental health. A Columbia University study found that teenagers who go to bed after midnight are more likely to be depressed and to seriously contemplate suicide than kids who are in bed by 10. Booster Shots has more:

Even more important than an early bedtime - though certainly related to it - was the total amount of sleep teens got. Compared with adolescents who reported eight hours of shut-eye each night, those who managed five hours or less were 71% more likely to be depressed and 48% more likely to consider suicide.

Lead researcher James Gangwisch, PhD, who analyzed data from more than 15,000 teens for the study, went on to say, "Adequate quality sleep could therefore be a preventative measure against depression and a treatment for depression." The paper appears in the current issue of Sleep.

Photo by r.f.m II

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