Noise reduction shades may improve mental health in teens

Oct 22 2010

Keeping light and noise low with noise reduction shades may give teens a healthy night's sleep.
Keeping light and noise low with noise reduction shades may give teens a healthy night's sleep.
The number of hours that teenagers sleep, and when they sleep, could influence their risk of developing depression or more serious mental disorders.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that those with mood disorders often experience disrupted sleep patterns far in advance of symptoms that indicate they are having mood problems.

Naomi Rogers, director of the chronobiology and sleep unit at the Brain and Mind Research Institute in Australia, told the newspaper, ''We know that teenagers have disrupted circadian rhythms and sleep-wake patterns. It's part of the maturation of the brain. But in people with mood disorders, the sleeping becomes even more unstable.''

One way to ensure a good night's sleep is to create a restful atmosphere with few distractions. The addition of noise reduction shades to a bedroom can block sound from traffic, nearby trains or neighborhood noise that cause people to wake easily.

Rogers, who presented her findings this week before the Australasian Sleep Conference, said researchers often have trouble determining which disorder could arise from disrupted sleep patterns. ''Sometimes bipolar is misdiagnosed as depression or [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]. That's a problem because some medications used to treat those conditions will trigger mania,'' Rogers said.
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