So, we’ve known for a long time that there’s a connection between sleep disturbance and mental health, particularly depression.
There’s been some research published this year looking at the connection between teens’ bedtime and mental health. Because depression may affect a student’s chosen bedtime, this study looked at parentally set bedtimes. Students’ were divided into two groups – bedtime 10pm or before, and bedtime midnight or later.
The teens with the later set bedtime of midnight or after were 24% more likely to be depressed and 20% more likely to have suicidal thoughts. The students with depression and suicidal thoughts had a sleep duration of 7 hr 23 mins compared to the other adolescents with an average of 7 hr 55 mins sleep nightly. Note for all groups this is at least an hour less than the recommended sleep for teens – 9 hours of more.
The authors conclude that an earlier parentally set bedtime may be protective against depression and suicidal thoughts in teens since it provides a longer sleep duration. Something to think about for all parents and people working with kids.