A latest study by a scientist at UT Southwestern Medical Center reveals that the sleeping patterns of adolescents may help to predict their depression risks. That's right! The sleeping style of children and teenagers seems to be an indicator of who could be at the greatest risk for developing depression.
Sleep is known to be a biological factor that has been linked with adult depression. Apparently adults who are depressed experience rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep earlier in the sleep cycle as compared to people who are not depressed. Whether this association was true in adolescents as well was not really clear until this study.
According to Dr. Uma Rao, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, adolescents who seem to have a familial risk for depression but were without a depression diagnosis experienced shorter REM latency. This meant that they attained the REM stage rapidly. By the end of the five-year study period, such adolescents had higher chances of developing depression as against those who reached REM sleep much later in the cycle.
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