Sleep shortage takes toll on middle schoolers

February 07, 2004

Feelings of depression and low self-esteem plague children as they advance through middle school because they get increasingly less sleep, according to a new study of 2,259 Illinois students.

"Sleep clearly played a significant role in predicting depressive symptoms and self-esteem during adolescence," says psychologist Jean Rhodes, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The research appears in the January-February issue of Child Development.

Attempts to improve the health, quality of life and academic careers of adolescents should consider the importance of a good night's sleep, she says.

"Elevated levels of depression and drops in self-esteem are seen as inevitable hallmarks of adolescence," she says. "Yet these results suggest that such changes are partially linked to a variable -- sleep -- that is largely under individual, parental and even school control."

The students were asked about the number of hours they slept each night and what grades they received in school. They also answered questionnaires designed to measure depressive symptoms and assess self-worth.

Rhodes and her colleagues found that students who slept fewer hours in the sixth grade had lower self-esteem, higher levels of depressive symptoms and worse grades than students who got more sleep. During the three years of middle school, they also found a steady decline in the average hours of sleep, which apparently led to declines in self-esteem and grades and a rise in depressive symptoms.

Girls had a harder time than boys in getting enough sleep, she says. They got more sleep than boys as they started middle school, possibly because girls enter puberty earlier, creating a greater need for sleep. Levels of sleep dropped for both boys and girls over time, but the decline was steeper for girls, she says.

On average, boys and girls went to bed at the same time. But girls woke up earlier, which other researchers have attributed to longer morning grooming times or a greater burden of household chores compared to boys.
-end-
BY AARON LEVIN, SCIENCE WRITER
HEALTH BEHAVIOR NEWS SERVICE

A grant from the Spencer Foundation supported this study.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Health Behavior News Service: 202-387-2829 or www.hbns.org.
Contact Anne-Marie Kent at 617-287-5319 or anne-marie.kent@umb.edu.
Child Development: Contact Angela Dahm Mackay at 734-998-7310 or admackay@umich.edu.

Center for Advancing Health

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.