The lack of sleep, the risk of depressed teenagers

Health 6 December, 2017


Published the 06.12.2017 at 17h04


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Chronic sleep deprivation– sleeping late and waking up too early to go to school or work – has become a way of life for children, teens, and even adults, especially with the increasing use of phones and tablets until late in the night.
But this “jet lag” social poses serious risks to mental health : a new study demonstrates that, for teens, even a short period of time from sleep restriction could, in the long term, increase their risk of psychological disorders.

Disruption of the circuits of the reward

Researchers have discovered in a study based on a game that the sleep deprivation was affecting the putamen, a brain region that plays a role in the movements based on the objectives and the reward circuit in the brain.
When the participants were deprived of sleep, and even when the reward in the game that they played was bigger, the putamen showed a less reactive. Once rested, the region of the putamen showed no difference in the reward is high or low.

Depression and addiction

In the same way, there is a link between lack of sleep and mood disorders. After a night of limiting sleep, the participants who had the lowest activation of the putamen were also more depressive symptoms. This finding is consistent with a large number of research that shows that depression is associated with an altered functioning of the reward circuit in the brain, including the putamen is part of it.

These results suggest that sleep deprivation during adolescence may interfere with the way the brain processes rewards. A problem which is likely to disrupt the mood, and increase the risk of depression, risk behaviours or addictions to drugs.