Researchers from the Flinders University have shown, in recent research that theinsomnia could contribute to the development of the depression in adolescents. The study argues that a combination of adolescent sleep biology and psychology uniquely predisposes young people to developing the disease.
The results of the Research have been published in the scientific journal Nature Reviews Psychology.
Teenage depression and insomnia: here’s what the new research has revealed
The doctor Cele Richardsona graduate of Flinders University, a professor of psychological sciences at theUniversity of Western Australiastated that a delayed circadian rhythma shorter sleep duration and an increased opportunity to think negatively while trying to fall asleep were all contributing factors.
“Adolescents are the most chronically sleep-limited subpopulation in all of human development, in both Western and Eastern societies, with data from around the world suggesting that they sleep too late and too little.“, Argued Dr. Richardson, referring to the problems of insomnia in the very young.
The research team found that a combination of changes in the development of the biological systems that control sleep and wakefulness during this period of people’s lives, rather than factors such as the use of technology in the evenings, provide unique pathways to depression.
“The first factor is a slower build-up of daytime sleepiness, which delays the onset of sleep in older adolescents“, Dr. Richardson explained:”Although teens fall asleep later, the school start time remains early, which means it is difficult for young people to achieve optimal 9.3 hours of sleep. It is these insomnia problems that increase the symptoms of depression ”.
“Second, the difficulty in falling asleep is further aggravated by a delay in the timing of the circadian rhythm that occurs during the adolescent’s development and having a delayed biological clock is constantly associated with an increased risk of depression.“.
“These physiological changes in sleep provide the opportunity for a third path to depression that is more psychological: the opportunity for repeated negative thoughts (worry and brooding), which is once again linked to higher levels of depression in adolescents.“.
The researchers stated that evidence-based interventions on insomnia, including bright light therapy, the use of melatonin, and cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, could be a new path to relieving depressive symptoms in young people.
“Further research on the role of sleep and insomnia in depression may also help us develop more effective prevention approaches so that we can stop the onset of depression, at least for some young people.“, Specified Dr. Richardson, who is conducting a clinical trial at theUWAwhere bright light therapy will be added to a common treatment for depression to see if this improves outcomes for teens.
The researcher of the Flinders Institute for Sleep Healththe doctor Gorica Micicalso co-author of the new study, said that schools and communities could incorporate sleep education into curricula to support the well-being of young people in this vulnerable age.
“Since underlying biological and physiological factors contribute significantly to the manifestation of insomnia, basic knowledge about sleep and what happens during sleep in adolescence can help young people better understand and manage their sleep.“, Added Dr. Micic.
Flinders University researcher Dr Michelle Short said the burden is also on parents: “Families could support adolescent sleep and mental health by setting bedtime limits on school nights, while schools could allow students to start classes at 8:30 or later and refrain from planning extracurricular activities before school, ”Dr Short said.
Sleep deprivation and insomnia in teens not only cause depressive symptoms but also contribute to existential distress, as it can quickly lead to loss of energy and function during the day and even feelings of anger and depression in young people.
In order to better study the phenomenon, Flinders University recruited 34 healthy adolescents (20 males) aged between 15 and 17, and asked them to spend 10 days and nine nights in a specially designed sleep center. They were assigned to one of three “doses” of sleep for five consecutive nights – from five hours, 7.5 hours or 10 hours in bed per night – with two basic nights and two “recovery” of up to 10 hours in bed.
The boys’ mood was monitored every three hours after awakening to assess responses to feelings such as “depressed“,”fear“,”angry“,”confused“,”anxious“,”happy” and “energetic“. Using unipolar visual analog scales that measure moods, the study found:
Participants in the five-hour group, but not the 7.5 or 10-hour groups, reported being significantly more depressed, angry, and confused during sleep restriction than at baseline;
•Happiness and energy decreased significantly following sleep restriction to five hours of sleep;
• When participants had the opportunity to sleep for 10 hours, their happiness increased significantly;
• No statistically significant effects of sleep restriction were found for fear or anxiety, although small to moderate effects of sleep limited to five or 7.5 hours were found.
“The two nights of recovery sleep were not sufficient to recover from increased negative mood states for the five-hour group, although recovery did occur for positive mood states.“Explained Dr Michelle Short, a researcher at Flinders University:”Given the prevalence of insufficient sleep and the increasing incidence of mood disorders and dysregulation in adolescents, our findings highlight the importance of adequate sleep to mitigate these risks.“, Added the researcher, referring to the problems of insomnia in adolescents.
The article, “Sleep duration and mood in adolescents: an experimental study “ (2021) of SA Booth (CQU), MA Carskadon (USA), R Young and MA Shortwas published on Sleep.
Adolescence is a critical maturation stage in terms of an increased risk of developing mood disorders, with researchers pointing out that sufficient sleep is critical to protect against mood deficits in otherwise healthy teens. THE results of the experimental study on insomnia or sleep duration and mood, confirmed that adolescents report a deterioration in mood in terms of depression, happiness, anger, confusion and energy.
#Insomnia #responsible #depression #adolescence