Advertising
Advertising

How Setting Earlier Bedtimes for Your Children Can Protect Them From Depression

How Setting Earlier Bedtimes for Your Children Can Protect Them From Depression

Increased depression can have a negative effect on the quality of sleep, and poor quality sleep can increase depression. That’s fairly well-covered ground. What’s notable, especially if you’re a parent, is that setting an earlier bedtime for children can decrease risks of depression.

The study

In a sleep research study, scientists studied the sleep and depression in adolescents, grades 7–12. They discovered that earlier parental-set bedtimes may help protect against adolescent depression. Though it is often assumed that teens need less sleep as preteens,the results from this study indicate that setting earlier bedtimes actually helps lengthen sleep duration. Getting quality sleep through childhood and adolescence helps curb risk for suicidal ideation.

Advertising

Columbia University Medical Center researches in 2009 discovered that not only were adolescents with later parental-set bedtimes (midnight or later) more likely to suffer depression, they were 25 percent more likely to suffer from depression. Twenty percent of the same study participants were 20 percent more likely to have suicidal ideation than those with bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier. James Gangwisch, Ph.D., who led the study, explains why the study focused on parental-set rather than adolescent reported bedtimes. Teens who experience depression are more likely to go to bed late or have erratic bedtimes. Parental-mandated bedtimes, however, were more likely to result in earlier and consistent bedtimes.

But how do parents get their kids to bed earlier, especially when their kids are teenagers, arguably the least compliant age-group of all?

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) website offers excellent data on the sleep needs of teenagers, the consequences of getting poor sleep, shifts in biological sleep patterns and more. If you’re the parent of a teen, you may want to sit down with your teen and go through this resource. It’s possible that learning more about how important sleep is to their well-being may come a long way in persuading them to change their bedtime habits.

Advertising

Most teens need between 8–10 hours of sleep per night, and preteens need between 9–11. When students’ sleep dips below the recommended amount, their capacity to learn suffers. Not only will their performance as a student be affected, there are physical consequences too. Teens are more susceptible to acne. In addition, cravings for junk food increase with sleep deprivation, which may result in weight gain. Behaviorally, sleep-deprived teens are more aggressive and impatient. This affects not only their relationships with authority, but with friends and family too.

Make an earlier bedtime a bit more appealing and commit to improving your sleep habits.

Teens share a lot of the same dissatisfying consequences of poor sleep as adults. The recommendations for changing habits to improve sleep hygiene are similar for both groups as well. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that teens limit the use of caffeine and electronics before bedtime. Other tips include setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. As a parent, consider sitting down with your teen to go over the research links between sleep and depression. Set a bedtime you both can agree on. It may help if you agree to practicing good sleep hygiene as well.

Advertising

Watch for signs of depression.

Your child or teenager can experience depression regardless of how much sleep they get. Be sure to watch for symptoms such as excessive worry, nervousness, or hopelessness about the future. An NSF poll reveals that, though adults typically believe youth have little to worry about, more than half of the adolescents polled report excessive worry and stress. Seventy-five percent of the subjects who scored highest on the depressive mood score also report getting insufficient sleep.

Featured photo credit: ffffound.com Visit via pinterest.com

Advertising

More by this author

Hand Gestures Might Determine How Fast You Learn, According To Study japanese school classroom setting 5 Things About The Japanese Education System That Will Surprise and Inspire You 1-Minute Exercises To Relieve Sciatica Effectively Why We Must Do The Thing We Cannot Do Most People Are Deficient In Magnesium, But It Wouldn’t Be Detected In Blood Tests

Trending in Health

1 The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight 2 Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever 3 How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success) 4 How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained) 5 Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

Advertising

Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

Advertising

Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

    Advertising

    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

    Advertising

    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

    Read Next