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More Online Time + Less Sleep Can Raise Depression Risk for Teens
We’ve all been through it: we can’t tear ourselves away from our smartphones, tablets, or laptops. It seems like a way to de-stress and relax, but it actually gives way to more stress and sleeping disorders. Over time, the use of smartphones and other devices can lead to depression – especially for younger people.
Sleep Deprivation and Mental Health
Our mental health is hugely affected if we don’t sleep enough and it becomes even worse when it becomes a habit. Sleep deprivation is bad for adults and it can even have a bigger effect on teens. A research published in the Sleep journal studied more than 3,000 teens from Houston who were 11 to 17 years old. They were all interviewed for at least an hour about their sleep habits and mental health. They were also asked to fill out some questionnaires. After one year, they were assessed to gather the same information.
The researchers discovered that sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in the development of depression in teens in just one year after consistently losing sleep. Another Swedish study supports the findings in the first research. The problem escalates these days because of the fact that many teens are so involved with their smartphones and gadgets. It is so easy for them to spend more time than what’s originally planned with their devices because there are so many things to do, such as gaming, chatting and other social media activities, and relying on the Internet for their homework.
What You Can Do
If you have a teen, the findings can be alarming. If you suspect that your teen is sleep deprived, here are some ways that can help:
- Educate your teen using facts and not opinion, particularly about the importance of sleep and the impact of inadequate sleep.
- Provide help with problems, such as completing their homework efficiently and sleeping early.
- Talk to them about having a regular time for bed, which they should stick to no matter what the cause.
- Talk to them about turning off their electronic gadgets about 30 minutes before they go to bed.
- Provide them with a comfortable bed that will motivate them to sleep and you can start with their mattress. Most teens prefer a medium firm mattress, which means it is not too soft or too firm. You can also talk to them about their preferences when it comes to the firmness of their bed as this can greatly affect their sleep.
About 11% of teens develop depression as they reach 18. And because sleep deprivation is a prevalent health problem, it is crucial that you provide steadfast support for your teenager.