I don’t know that we have a definitive answer to that question, but what we do know is that anxiety and depression among kids and teens is on the rise, and that a lack of sleep, at worst, is a contributing factor to mental health issues like those, and, at best, doesn’t help anyone struggling with them.
What we are now finding out though, according to a recent study is that most kids don’t get enough sleep:
Early school start times, screen related distractions, and other external pressures have contributed to 52 percent of American children ages 6 to 17 getting less than the 9 hours per night recommended by pediatricians.
That lack of Zzz’s has effects for a child’s development, according to a new study being presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2019 National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.
Now, what the article I’ve linked to shows is that over half of kids don’t get the amount of sleep that would normally be recommended, and also talks about some of the physical and cognitive effects that lack of sleep can have on children. (Or anyone really).
What I’m suggesting is not that if those 52% of kids just got the correct amount of sleep we would solve the mental health crisis among young people. Rather that, as we seek to understand and help kids who are dealing with anxiety and depression, for any number of reasons, the lack of sleep is only going to make it worse in many cases, certainly not better.
It’s not going to solve everything, but it’s a simple thing we can do that might make a difference. Why not?