A Queensland study of adolescent brain development has shown that a good night's sleep could be integral to improving mental health in this age bracket.
The University of the Sunshine Coast recently issued their findings from a 5-year study in which they conducted 120 brain scans of 12-year-olds. The scans tracked their development every four months because during adolescence, the body and brain undergo rapid changes.
Professor of Youth Mental Health and Neurobiology Daniel Hermens explained that the study uncovered significant links between sleep quality and mental wellbeing in 12-year-olds.
"Previously, few studies into the association between sleep quality and mental health have focused on early adolescence, yet this is a developmental period in which many mental illnesses first emerge. Our research in this area is therefore vital and indicates that sleep quality may influence or act as an indicator of mental health."
Australia's Sleep Health Foundation agrees that sleep supports healthy development of the body and mind. Evidence has proven that adolescents who don't get enough sleep experience learning difficulties, are less motivated, more confused and irritable, have poorer memory, impaired communication, diminished reaction times, greater indifference and process information more slowly.
It is recommended that adolescents get 9 hours of sleep every night. Are your kids getting their 9 hours? Could it be time to introduce a wind-down ritual in your home? Devices down, lights dimmed, warm shower before bed ... these are just three easy-to-implement strategies you can introduce with your family. Read: Screens down, books up at bedtime.