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Tired teens prone to depression

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Sleep-deprived high school students may be at risk for depression

Sleep-deprived high school students are three times more at-risk for depression compared to their peers. Researchers report most teens in the U.S. do not get sufficient sleep. The AASM recommends teenagers need more than nine hours of sleep per night. 

Findings suggest more than half of high school students are excessively sleepy during the daytime. Students average about six hours of sleep on school nights and eight hours on weekends.

A consistent parental-set bedtime of 10 p.m. or earlier reduces the risk for depression. Depressive symptoms are likely for teens with bedtimes past midnight.

Some experts advocate pushing forward school start times to allow teens to sleep longer. Regular screenings at school for sleep deprivation and depression may also benefit students.

The study looked at student sleeping habits at a typical public high school in New Jersey. More than 250 high school seniors participated in the survey.

Students took the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a commonly used sleep disorder assessment. Scores of 10 or higher indicate excessive daytime sleepiness. The students also were evaluated for depression using an assessment called the Validated Depression Scale

The findings were presented at SLEEP 2010, an annual convention for sleep researchers and medical professionals. For in-depth coverage of the latest findings in sleep medicine visit the Sleep Education blog.

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