After several suicides in Palo Alto California, a local psychiatrist shared tips for decreasing the risk of suicide and depression in children. His #1 item? Sleep. Over 70 studies have now shown a link between sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, and suicide. At Masconomet, the average teen is getting 7 hours of sleep on a school night – a loss of 10 hours a week of sleep. Dr. Strassberg writes:
Depression is a major factor in most suicides. Depression causes significant disruptions in sleep patterns. However, an emerging body of literature shows that sleep disruptions seem to precede and even precipitate depressive episodes.
Our children need to be sleeping more than us, not less than us. They need to be sleeping regular hours. Sufficient sleep must take priority over homework, athletics, social life, work, etc. I cannot overemphasize the importance of proper sleep hygiene. Poor sleep is just one of a great many contributing factors to depression, but it is such an easily controllable and preventable factor. Make your teens sleep.
Read more at Guest opinion: Keep Calm and Parent On