Sadness in Children Is Associated with Sleep

Published Online: Thursday, April 1, 2004

Not enough sleep is linked with despair and low self-esteem among middle school students, suggest the results of a study published in Child Development(January/February 2004). The study involved 2259 Illinois students from ages 10 to 14, who were questioned about their grades and the number of hours they slept each night. Also, the students completed questionnaires designed to measure depressive symptoms and self-worth.

The researchers found that during the 3 years of middle school there was a solid decline in the students' average number of hours of sleep. More specifically, students who received less sleep in the sixth grade demonstrated lower initial self-esteem and lower grades, and higher levels of depressive symptoms. Although, on average, boys and girls went to bed at the same time, the girls got less sleep because they awoke earlier, either due to longer morning grooming times or a greater responsibility for household chores, compared with boys.

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