Adolescent Sleep Deprivation & Depressive Symptoms

Tim Elmore set out to discover what kept teens and college students up at night. Young adults made known that binge watching YouTube videos, social media and texting their friends late into the night motivated their lack of sleep. In addition to too much screen time before bed, teens may lose sleep due to a lack of exercise and high sugar and caffeine diets. Students also admitted the temptation to fall asleep during school hours.

According to Elmore, research suggests that “adolescents require more sleep than younger children, yet they get less sleep than those younger kids.” Teenagers need between 8 and 9 hours of sleep to solidify proper growth, development and pruning of the brain.

The Child Mind Institute posted, the “National Sleep Foundation surveyed more than 1,600 adolescents and found that many exhibited depressive symptoms on a frequent if not daily-basis. More than half (56%) said that they felt stressed out and anxious. Many reported feeling hopeless about the future. Less sleep correlated with higher levels of depression. And, in turn, those kids with more depression had problems falling or staying asleep. It’s a vicious cycle lack of sleep affects mood, and depression can lead to lack of sleep. Multiple studies, including Dr. Ryan C. Meldrum’s, have found that severe sleep debt is linked to suicidal ideation.”

Elmore suggests the following action tips if your child is in need of additional sleep:

  • Make the bedroom a quiet place.
  • Take a hot bath or shower before going to bed.
  • Cool the room down to 68 degrees for the body to cool off.
  • Turn alarm clocks away from the bed and close all curtains.
  • Keep your phone at least ten feet away from the bed.
In conclusion, Elmore suggests the entire family be screen-free for at least the last 30 minutes of each day. Consider making this a challenge in your home today!