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Lack of sleep can be linked to depression and suicidal thoughts among young people

Lack of sleep can be linked to depression and suicidal thoughts among young people

The study included secondary school students from 116 schools in Stockholm County. Students were asked to provide information about their bedtime and wake-up times, which was used to determine their bedtime on both school days and weekends, as well as their preferences regarding bedtime (chronotype). In addition to reporting their sleep habits, they were also asked to answer questions about their sleep quality, depressive symptoms, and suicidal thoughts.

Many young people do not get enough sleep

About half of students sleep fewer than the recommended 8-10 hours during school days. Many students also report that they have a chronotype (“night owl”) that does not align with when the school day starts. The study found that students who reported symptoms of depression and/or suicidal thoughts slept fewer hours per night on average than students who did not experience any depressive symptoms or suicidal thoughts.

The main finding of this study is that young people who have short sleep duration during school days and poor sleep quality are more susceptible to depression and suicidal thoughts. “Given that nearly half of the youth in this study slept fewer than 8 hours on weekdays, this study underscores the need for interventions aimed at promoting sleep in youth,” said corresponding author Teresa Lemke of NASP.

School-based interventions can promote sleep and health among youth

Promoting sleep in young people can provide the conditions for better health and influence youth development. It is therefore recommended that school hours, from middle school onwards, be adapted to the later sleeping habits of young people, which are currently shortened as a result of today’s early school starts.

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Fact sheet about the study

Read more about the study in the fact sheet “Lack of sleep linked to depression and suicidal thoughts among young people”