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Depression, suicidal tendencies in children linked to sleep behavior in city health department report

The city’s Department of Health found that 11 percent of students ages 6 to 12 get less than nine hours of sleep.

A recent study by New York City's Department

A recent study by New York City's Department of Health found that 11 percent of students 6 to 12 years old get less than nine hours of sleep. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Children who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to poor mental health, including emotional and behavioral issues, according to a new study by the city’s Department of Health.

The study, released Wednesday, found that on an average school night, 75 percent of high school students got less than eight hours of sleep. It also found that 11 percent of students 6 to 12 years old got less than nine hours, which is considered inadequate sleep.

“New York is well known as the city that doesn’t sleep, but for our school children and adolescents, getting adequate sleep is a key part of maintaining emotional and physical well-being,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement. “As the City expands mental health services through ThriveNYC, we ask parents to work with us in making sure our children spend less time on electronic devices and more time on getting a full night’s rest.”

The study, which used data from two different 2015 studies, found that a lack of sleep was associated with a higher prevalence of emotional and behavior problems, including a higher likelihood of depressive symptoms, self-injury, and suicidal tendency.

The study also found a correlation between young students who spent two or more weekday hours on an electronic device and a lack of sleep. About 66 percent of school-aged children 12 and under spent that amount of time on their devices, according to the health department.

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