Sleep is the most important thing for physical and mental health. A lot of times parents will bring in their kids and we’ll sit down and talk. They’re suffering from many different symptoms of depression and the first thing I ask is: how many hours do you typically sleep at night? Kids need to sleep eight to nine and when you break that down, that means they have to go to bed at like 9 or 10 so they can get up for school in the morning. That’s not happening very often. Sometimes they’ll look at their fitbits and they say, oh, I guess I slept four hours last night because I was doing homework. Five hours the night before because I had a soccer game and five and a half the day before that because while I was on Facetime with my best friend. What we want to look at is what symptoms that could be causing that looks like depression but might not be. It can cause irritability and fighting with parents. It can cause social withdrawal and being too tired. It can cause poor concentration and doing poorly in school and it can also cause considerable increase in appetite. So we really want to focus on the sleep. It’s worth spending a lot of energy, a lot of time on Google trying to sleep more hours, trying to sleep better. Vice versa, we also need to look at if you do have clinical depression, a symptom of that is an inability to sleep. If that’s the case and you just can’t sleep, you lay there at night, you go to bed at appropriate time and you just lay there – that’s the time to seek out a doctor or a therapist to try and get some medication or get some help sleeping because that might really hinder your depression from getting better.
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