How long do teenagers sleep when they are depressed

Some teenagers need less sleep than others

02.11.2017

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles (UCLA) conclude that a few teenagers can get along well with less than seven hours of sleep a night without any performance degradation.

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Sleep disorders contribute to a number of psychological problems in adolescents, explained the scientists led by Professor Andrew J. Fuligni from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in a press release from the university. But it is unclear whether some young people need to sleep more or less than others in order to be healthy and perform at their best.

8 to 11 hours are ideal for most teenagers

In the "Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology", Fuligni and his colleagues report that there are differences between adolescents in the need for sleep. Not all of them need the same amount of sleep to be in a good mood. A few teenagers are productive even with less than seven hours of sleep a night. However, more than 11 hours is not ideal for the vast majority of young people. Most teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep, the researchers found.

"This study contributes to the empirical basis for the recommendations on sleep duration for adolescents," said study leader Fuligni. "Instead of just saying 'more sleep is better' and 'everyone should sleep more', we wanted to find out more about individual sleep needs."

To study the relationship between sleep duration and daytime mood, the researchers recruited 419 ninth and tenth graders from Los Angeles. For 14 days, the young people completed daily checklists on three pages before going to bed. They answered questions about sleep the previous night and the mood of the following day. To encourage accurate, daily reporting, teens should seal and timestamp the checklists daily. The teenagers were offered cinema tickets so that they could fill in and submit the checklists correctly.

It found that younger adolescents and those who were more likely to show signs of anxiety or symptoms of depression, such as crying, frequent worries, and fatigue, reported better moods when they slept more. Older teenagers and those with fewer symptoms needed less sleep for this. The experts therefore suspect that younger adolescents and those who report clinically significant levels of anxiety or depressive symptoms need more sleep in order to achieve their full performance.

"As a society we underestimate how much sleep children - especially adolescents - need," added Fuligni. "They experience a lot of stress and sleep less, and some teenagers sacrifice their sleep to meet the demands of school and other activities."

Source: UCLA, Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology