Study Finds Connection between Depression and Sleep Patterns in Teenagers

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sleep deprivation / slip ˌdɛp rəˈveɪ ʃən / (n) – the state in which an individual does not get enough sleep

    Sleep deprivation often results in poor health.

  2. indicator / ˈɪn dɪˌkeɪ tər / (n) – a sign that shows a condition or situation

    Some people believe that having a high-paying job is an indicator of success.

  3. clock in / klɒk ɪn / (phrasal) – to take or last for a certain amount of time

    The song is quite long; it clocks in at more than five minutes.

  4. outcome / ˈaʊtˌkʌm / (n) – the result of something

    The experiment’s outcome was very different from what the researchers had expected.

  5. stress / strɛs / (v) – to emphasize or give special attention to something

    My brother’s strict teacher always stressed the importance of self-discipline.


Read the text below.

Researchers have found a strong connection between sleep patterns and mental health problems among teenagers.

A team of experts from three UK universities aimed to uncover the link between sleep deprivation and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. To examine the link, the experts gathered responses from 4,790 teenagers about their sleep quality and quantity.

The teenagers were divided into two groups. Those in the first group showed few to no indicators of depression or anxiety, while those in the other group were diagnosed with at least one of the two conditions.

After looking at the teenagers’ sleep reports, the researchers saw that the first and second groups both got around 9 hours of sleep on weekends. However, on weeknights the difference was much clearer, with the first group getting about 8 hours of sleep and the second clocking in at less than 7.5 hours.

The outcome of the research showed that teenagers who often failed to meet the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep were more at risk of having poor mental health. Dr. Faith Orchard, one of the study’s principal authors, said that the findings stressed the impact of sleeping habits on people’s mental health. She believes that addressing young people’s sleep problems can positively affect their wellbeing.

Dr. Orchard advised parents to teach their children the benefits of sleep. She also encouraged them to seek professional help for teenage children who are experiencing sleep problems.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, should parents be responsible for tracking their children’s sleeping habits? Explain.
• Aside from mental health, what things that may be affected by sleep should researchers look into (e.g. productivity, physical health)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What are some factors that cause people to be sleep-deprived (e.g. distractions, schoolwork)? Discuss.
• Do you think a lot of people overlook the importance of getting enough sleep? Why or why not?