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The importance of sleep

By Staff | Feb 21, 2014

The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. Recent studies indicate that due to the temporary resetting of the circadian rhythm during adolescence and the fact that many of these youth are night owls and have constant exposure to technology many young people are experiencing serious issues, such as depression.

Knowing how busy many teens are with studies, extra-curricular activities and part-time jobs, it’s very unsettling to read the many articles that I have read in recent months about the research studies that have been done in regard to teenagers and sleep. I have also seen these problems first hand while working with youth as the school counselor at Rugby High School.

Teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorder and in another study it was found that lack of sleep and excessive media use were associated with mental health problems in teens.

Another study showed that teens who misused drugs and skipped school were more likely to have depression, but more alarming was that depression and suicidal thoughts were just as common among kids who didn’t sleep and exercise enough, and who spent a lot of time on the Internet. Both groups were over three times more likely to have depression as the rest of their peers.

I know there are many parents who are already monitoring their children’s sleep and expecting the technology to be shut down at a certain time each night and many are having cell phones, ipods and ipads, etc. on the kitchen counter recharging during the night while the family is recharging with a good night sleep as well. My hope is that by taking the time to read this article below and doing their own research on what they can do to prevent depression, even more parents will take action so that our young people will not be victim to this serious problem. Please Google this topic or check out the NPR health blog.

Julie Sjol,

RHS Guidance Counselor

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