Sleep’s role in the development and resolution of adolescent depression

Michael Gradisar, Michal Kahn, Gorica Micic, Michelle Short, Chelsea Reynolds, Faith Orchard, Serena Bauducco, Kate Bartel, Cele Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Two adolescent mental health fields — sleep and depression — have advanced largely in parallel until about four years ago. Although sleep problems have been thought to be a symptom of adolescent depression, emerging evidence suggests that sleep difficulties arise before depression does. In this Review, we describe how the combination of adolescent sleep biology and psychology uniquely predispose adolescents to develop depression. We describe multiple pathways and contributors, including a delayed circadian rhythm, restricted sleep duration and greater opportunity for repetitive negative thinking while waiting for sleep. We match each contributor with evidence-based sleep interventions, including bright light therapy, exogenous melatonin and cognitive-behaviour therapy techniques. Such treatments improve sleep and alleviate depression symptoms, highlighting the utility of sleep treatment for comorbid disorders experienced by adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-523
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Psychology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • sleep problems
  • adolescent depression
  • adolescent mental health
  • evidence-based sleep interventions
  • Adolescent sleep
  • exogenous melatonin
  • cognitive-behavior therapy


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