There has been a dramatic rise in childhood depression in the past two decades and no one knows why. A recent study by U.S. researchers indicates that perhaps going to bed early may protect teenagers against depression and suicidal ideations. The latest study in 12-18 year olds showed that those teenagers who went to bed after midnight were 24% more likely to have depression than those who went to bed at 10 p.m.
Moreover individuals who slept less than five hours a night had a nearly 71% higher risk of depression than who slept at least seven hours.
The latest work from Columbia University Medical Center in New York looked at data gathered from over 15,000 teenagers collected in the 90's. The study revealed that at least one in fifteen teenagers was found to have depression.
All the data indicated that going to bed after midnight was a risk factor for depression and these individuals were more likely to develop suicidal thoughts when compared to children who went to bed at 10 p.m. Besides the sleep factor, depression was found to be more likely in girls, older teenagers and in those teenagers who felt that their parents cared little about them.
Lead researcher, Dr. James Gangwisch, does admit that perhaps it is the depression that could be causing the poor sleep patterns. However, it was observed that some of these teenagers only developed symptoms of depression after developing poor sleep habits. Lack of adequate sleep has been linked to aberrant mood changes including loss of concentration, impulsivity and anxiety.