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Teen suicidal thoughts linked to sleep

Posted Jan 04 2010 12:00am


Firstly, I was struck by this article about the correlation between teens not getting enough sleep and having suicidal impulses.  Let me see if I can find it for you… ah, here it is.

An extract:

As well as the higher risk of depression, those who were set a bedtime by their parents of after midnight were 20% more likely to think about suicide than those whose bedtime was 2200 or earlier.

Those who had less than five hours sleep a night were thought to have a 48% higher risk of suicidal thoughts compared with those who had eight hours of sleep.

Now, this being a bbc article and all, I’m not saying I expect in-depth analysis, but such surface-brushing of a potential issue seems lazy to say the least.  I mean, how on earth can you take those two sets of statistics 1)adolescents who go to bed later than 10pm and 2) adolescents who go to bed before 10pm, and draw from that, unfounded conclusions?

The article seems to me to reveal nothing whatsoever about the correlation between young adult bedtime and suicidal thoughts.  It’s glaringly obvious that the depression itself may be keeping those stayer-uppers up, as sleep disturbance is a basic symptom of depression, which, in turn is a major trigger of suicidal thoughts.

I just hold my head in my hands sometimes with these types of reports.   Either the reporter is being lazy in their analysis of the findings or the study is completely unequipped to deal with the variables and intricacy of the relationship between depression, age and suicidal leanings.

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