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Negative thoughts among teens may delay sleep, lead to depression: Study

ANI | Updated: Mar 22, 2020 15:47 IST

Adelaide [Australia], Mar 22 (ANI): Holding on to the negative thoughts and striving for perfection among teens can keep them awake at night, raising their chances of becoming depressed, suggests a new study.
An online study of almost 400 adolescents aged 14 to 20 years confirmed the link, leading sleep researchers at Flinders University to recommend alternative treatments for repetitive negative thinking and perfectionism in dealing with delayed sleep and mental health problems among teenagers.
Professor Michael Gradisar, director of the Child and Adolescent Sleep Clinic at Flinders University, said that the study confirmed a link between repeated negative thinking and delayed sleep. This was exacerbated in respondents with perfectionism tendencies.
"Repetitive negative thinking is habit-forming and it can significantly contribute to making sleep difficult and causing depressed mood in teenagers, who already like to stay up late at night. This study supports the need to recognize repetitive negative thinking in preventing and treating sleep problems, along with individual differences in perfectionism and mood," Professor Gradisar said.
The role of repetitive negative thinking and perfectionism in explaining the link between sleep onset problems and depressed mood has important clinical implications through providing possible treatment targets.
International studies indicate depression affects between 3 per cent and 8 per cent of adolescents. It is often recurring and may continue to develop into more severe depressive disorders during adulthood.
In teenagers, depression can cause poor concentration, a loss of interest in schoolwork, difficulties in peer relationships, and even suicide.
Clinical child psychology Professor Michael Gradisar stressed that sleep plays an important part in preventing and treating depression in teenagers.
Professor Michael further mentioned that parents and carers can implement better sleep health by encouraging regular bedtime routines during the school week and weekends, and encouraging mobile phones to be turned off earlier in the evening.
He concluded that busy lifestyles, stress and screen time make self-help and accessible resources for better sleep increasingly important. (ANI)

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