The relationship between teens and sleep is known to be complicated. Teenage years are full of drastic changes, including hormones, busy daily schedules and intense social relationships. Psychology researchers at the University of Adelaide took a closer look at high school students, aiming to gather more information about the link between teens and mental health conditions related to insomnia.
300 high school students between the ages of 12-18 in Australia were surveyed by School of Psychology PhD student, Pasquale Alvaro. Information was obtained regarding the time of day they were most active, their mental health condition, and sleep habits.
Published in the journal Sleep Medicine, the results revealed an independent link between insomnia and mental health conditions, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia and separation anxiety were also more likely to be found among the teens who were more active during the evenings. However, those mental conditions could not be fully credited to insomnia.
With about 11% of teens set to experience insomnia at some point between the ages of 13-16, it’s critical that the health and scientific communities come to together, “having insomnia in addition to anxiety or depression can further intensify the problems being experienced with each individual disorder. It can lead to such problems as alcohol and drug misuse during adolescence,” Alvaro says.
The evening chronotype (being more active during the evenings) is an important risk factor to take to note of, as over time it can keep delaying a teen’s bedtime. Alvaro and his team are pushing for more prevention and treatment of teen insomnia to prevent other health and behavior risk factors.
As researchers look into more developments between teens and sleep, continue to promote healthy sleep habits in your home. For more information on how much high quality shut-eye each member of your family needs click here to get on track!