Teen insomnia is linked with depression and anxiety

July 30, 2014

A study of high school students by University of Adelaide psychology researchers has shed new light on the links between insomnia-related mental health conditions among teens.

School of Psychology PhD student Pasquale Alvaro surveyed more than 300 Australian students aged 12-18 to better understand their , mental health condition and the time of day they were most active (known as their "chronotype").

The results, now published in the journal Sleep Medicine, may have implications for the clinical treatment of teens experiencing sleep and .

"People with insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep for as long as they need to. This is a widespread sleep disorder among the general public, and in most countries about 11% of teens aged 13-16 years experience insomnia at some stage," Mr Alvaro says.

"There is a growing awareness among the scientific community that insomnia, depression and anxiety disorders are linked with each other, and these disorders contain overlapping neurobiological, psychological, and social risk factors.

"Having insomnia in addition to anxiety or depression can further intensify the problems being experienced with each individual disorder. It can lead to such problems as alcohol and drug misuse during adolescence," he says.

Mr Alvaro's study found that the presence of insomnia was independently linked with depression, and panic disorder among teens.

Teens who were more active in the evenings were more likely to have depression and/or insomnia. This group was also more likely to have obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, and social phobia, although these disorders were often not independently linked with insomnia.

"These findings suggest that the 'eveningness' chronotype – being more active in the evenings – is an independent risk factor for insomnia and depression. This is important because adolescents tend to develop a preference for evenings, which sometimes becomes a syndrome whereby they keep delaying going to sleep," Mr Alvaro says.

"Based on our evidence, we believe that prevention and treatment efforts for insomnia and depression should consider this combination of , sleep, and the eveningness chronotype, in addition to current mainstream behavioral approaches. Prevention and treatment efforts for anxiety subtypes should also consider focusing on insomnia and depression."

Explore further: Looking at links between depression and insomnia

More information: Sleep Medicine, DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2014.03.019

Related Stories

Looking at links between depression and insomnia

February 27, 2012
People with both insomnia and depression who have found anti-depressants ineffective can draw hope from a new study currently recruiting in Melbourne.

Pre-existing insomnia linked to PTSD and other mental disorders after military deployment

June 28, 2013
A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Naval Health Research Center has shown military service members who have trouble sleeping prior to deployments may be at greater risk ...

School work a worry for sleepless teens

January 29, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—As Year 12 begins for thousands of South Australian students, a new Flinders University study shows teens who can't fall asleep at night are mainly worrying about the fallout of sleeping in and missing ...

How you cope with stress may increase your risk for insomnia

July 3, 2014
A new study is the first to identify specific coping behaviors through which stress exposure leads to the development of insomnia.

Efficacy of herbal remedies for managing insomnia

July 18, 2012
Approximately 1 in 3 Americans suffers from chronic sleep deprivation and another 10-15% of the population has chronic insomnia. Sleep disorders can profoundly affect a person's whole life and have been linked to a range ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.