Earlier school start times may increase risk of adolescent depression and anxiety

Teenagers with school starting times before 8:30 a.m. may be at particular risk of experiencing depression and anxiety due to compromised sleep quality, according to a recent study. | Sleep Health 2017 | story via ScienceDaily

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The findings of this study provide additional evidence in the debate over how school start times impact adolescent health.  The study,  published in the journal Sleep Health found that Teenagers who start school before 8:30 a.m. are at higher risk of depression and anxiety, even if they’re doing everything else right to get a good night’s sleep.

The authors used an online tool to collect data from 197 students across the USA between the ages of 14 and 17. All children and parents completed a baseline survey that included questions about the child’s level of sleep hygiene, family socioeconomic status,  and their school start times. They were separated into two groups: those who started school before 8:30 a.m. and those who started after 8:30 a.m.

Over a period of seven days, the students were instructed to keep a sleep diary, in which they reported specifically on their daily sleep hygiene, levels of sleep quality and duration, and their depressive/anxiety symptoms.

The results showed that good baseline sleep hygiene was directly associated with lower average daily depressive/anxiety symptoms across all students, and the levels were even lower in students with school start times after 8:30. However, students with good baseline sleep hygiene and earlier school start times had higher average daily depressive/anxiety symptoms.

Link to the research:  Peltz, J. S. et al. A process-oriented model linking adolescents’ sleep hygiene and psychological functioning: the moderating role of school start times  Sleep Health

Full story at ScienceDaily

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Is ADHD really a sleep problem?

Around 75 percent of children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also have sleep problems, but until now these have been thought to be separate issues | ScienceDaily

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  • In 75% of ADHD patients, the physiological sleep phase — where people show the physiological signs associated with sleep, such as changes in the level of the sleep hormone melatonin, and changes in sleep-related movement — is delayed by 1.5 hours.
  • Core body temperature changes associated with sleep are also delayed (reflecting melatonin changes)
  • Many sleep-related disorders are associated with ADHD, including restless-leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and the circadian rhythm disturbance, the delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • ADHD people often show greater alertness in the evening, which is the opposite of what is found in the general population
  • Many sufferers benefit from taking melatonin in the evening or bright light therapy in the morning, which can help reset the circadian rhythm
  • Recent work has shown that around 70% of adult ADHD sufferers show an oversensitivity of the eyes to light, leading many to wear sunglasses for long periods during the day — which may reinforce the problems associated with a ‘circadian shift’.
  • Chronic late sleep leads to a chronic sleep debt, associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. This cascade of negative health consequences may in part be preventable by resetting the sleep rhythm.

Read the overview via ScienceDaily here

Cognitive behavioral and mindfulness-based group sleep improvement intervention for at-risk adolescents

Blake, M. et al. Sleep | Published online: 18 April 2017

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Objective: The aim of this study was to test whether a cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based sleep intervention could improve sleep and anxiety on school nights in a group of at-risk adolescents. We also examined whether benefits to sleep and anxiety would be mediated by improvements in sleep hygiene awareness and pre-sleep hyperarousal.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that pre-sleep arousal but not sleep hygiene awareness is important for adolescents’ perceived sleep quality, and could be a target for new treatments of adolescent sleep problems.

Read the abstract here

One in five young people lose sleep over social media

One in five young people regularly wake up in the night to send or check messages on social media, according to new research | ScienceDaily

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Over 900 pupils, aged between 12-15 years, were recruited and asked to complete a questionnaire about how often they woke up at night to use social media and times of going to bed and waking. They were also asked about how happy they were with various aspects of their life including school life, friendships and appearance.

1 in 5 reported ‘almost always’ waking up to log on, with girls much more likely to access their social media accounts during the night than boys. Those who woke up to use social media nearly every night, or who didn’t wake up at a regular time in the morning, were around three times as likely to say they were constantly tired at school compared to their peers who never log on at night or wake up at the same time every day. Moreover, pupils who said they were always tired at school were, on average, significantly less happy than other young people.

Read the full overview here

Read the original research article here

Bedtime use of media devices more than doubles the risk of poor sleep in children

Carter, B. et al. JAMA Pediatrics. Published online: October 31 2016.

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Objective  To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine whether there is an association between portable screen-based media device (eg, cell phones and tablet devices) access or use in the sleep environment and sleep outcomes.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Of 467 studies identified, 20 cross-sectional studies were assessed for methodological quality. Two reviewers independently extracted data.

Results  Twenty studies were included, and their quality was assessed. The studies involved 125 198 children (mean [SD] age, 14.5 [2.2] years; 50.1% male). There was a strong and consistent association between bedtime media device use and inadequate sleep quantity (odds ratio [OR], 2.17; 95% CI, 1.42-3.32) (P < .001, I2 = 90%), poor sleep quality (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.14-1.88) (P = .003, I2 = 76%), and excessive daytime sleepiness (OR, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.32-5.61) (P = .007,I2 = 50%). In addition, children who had access to (but did not use) media devices at night were more likely to have inadequate sleep quantity (OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.39-2.31) (P < .001, I2 = 64%), poor sleep quality (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.11-2.10) (P = .009, I2 = 74%), and excessive daytime sleepiness (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.54-3.35) (P < .001, I2 = 24%).

Conclusions and Relevance  To date, this study is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the association of access to and the use of media devices with sleep outcomes. Bedtime access to and use of a media device were significantly associated with the following: inadequate sleep quantity, poor sleep quality, and excessive daytime sleepiness. An integrated approach among teachers, health care professionals, and parents is required to minimize device access at bedtime, and future research is needed to evaluate the influence of the devices on sleep hygiene and outcomes.

Read the full review article here

Improving teen mental health outside of traditional settings

Fenton, K. PHE Public Health Matters Blog. Published online: 4 July 2016

Childhood and teenage years are a time of rapid change and development and coping with the pressures of growing up can be tough.

Young people can experience a range of mental health problems, and as part of our work to improve the public’s mental health we can help by identifying and encouraging approaches that adapt to and meet the changing needs of young people.

We have a key role in helping to make this vision a reality, and we have an important opportunity to drive action to improve children and young people’s mental health beyond health and social care services.

Reading for good mental health 

The Reading Well for Young People scheme was launched in April by The Reading Agency, Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL), with funding from the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.

With the tagline ’Find shelf help in your local library’, the scheme has been co-produced with young people alongside leading health organisations including PHE.

The importance of a good night’s sleep

MindEd at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the University of Northumbria have published a new ‘sleep in adolescence’ resource, supported by PHE.

This follows a recent report from the Royal Society for Public Health and the University of Oxford stated that poor sleep is linked to a wide range of physical, mental, behavioural and performance issues. It warned that four in ten people aren’t getting enough sleep, while one in five sleep poorly most nights, and called for sleep to become a key priority for the public’s health.

Read the full blog here