Sleep deprivation among high school students can cause depression and a variety of other issues. That’s the finding of a new study of teens in New Jersey. The research, conducted by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, looked at 300 high school students in Mercer County, NJ. The study found that during the school year, high school students got an average of 6.1 hours of sleep on weeknights and that levels of depression were moderate to high within the group.
“Adolescents really need nine hours of sleep a night. It’s mandated by their metabolic demands. And their brains are still developing,” Dr. Mahmood Siddique, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at UMDNJ told the Times of Trenton newspaper.
“Parents may not be aware that these kids are sleep-deprived, so everyone is getting a diminution of return. We’d like to get the message out “” let them sleep. They’ll be more focused and actually perform better on tests, and they’ll be happier kids.”
Siddique described a “cycle of agitation” among teens that can lead to irritability, mood swings and symptoms of depression.