Sleep and Depression- The right Amount of Sleep is Protective

sleeperHave you ever wondered how much sleep your child or teenager should get?  If your teenager or young adult is suffering from depression or mood disorders, please consider the importance of getting enough good sleep.  Normal duration of sleep is considered 7-9 hours for teenagers and adults (although I do think teens in the growth spurt years may do better with the 9 hours rather than less). 

In a twin study,  twins with the normal sleep duration of seven to 8.9 hours per night, had a total heritability of depressive symptoms of 27 percent.  This increased to 53 percent among twins with a shorter sleep duration of five hours per night, and 49 percent among those who reported sleeping 10 hours per night.

Another study of 4,175 individuals between 11 and 17 years of age, is the first to document reciprocal effects for major depression and short sleep duration among adolescents using prospective data. Results suggest that sleeping six hours or less per night increases the risk for major depression, which in turn increases the risk for decreased sleep among adolescents.

It appears sleep deprivation may be a precursor for major depression in adolescents, occurring before other symptoms of major depression and other mood disorders. Getting adequate sleep may be as important as a good diet for your child’s mental health. 


Dr. Paul

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