Late nights? No thanks.

Teenagers who go to bed late are more likely to have depression and suicidal thoughts, according to a recent research study.

The research conducted by Columbia University Medical Center in New York found that, of the 15,500 12 to 18-year-olds studied, those who went to bed after midnight were 24% more likely to have depression and 20% more likely to think about suicide than those who went to bed before 10pm, and those who slept fewer than 5 hours per night had a 71% higher risk of depression and 48% higher risk of suicidal thoughts than those who slept eight hours.

On average the teenagers were having seven hours and 53 minutes sleep a night - less than the nine hours recommended at that age.

Study leader Dr James Gangwisch said that a lack of sleep could affect emotional brain responses and lead to moodiness that hindered the ability to cope with daily stresses. This moodiness could affect judgment, concentration and impulse control.

"Adequate quality sleep could therefore be a preventative measure against depression and a treatment for depression," he added.

I am no teenager, but I am sure that the research findings apply to people irrespective of age. One thing I would like to achieve in 2010 is exactly to have enough sleep.

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