Washington Post: With children and teens readjusting to the world in the wake of pandemic isolation, sleeping well can be a protective factor, says Lisa Meltzer, a pediatric psychologist at National Jewish Health in Denver.

“When you don’t sleep well, emotional regulation is one of the first things to go,” she says. “Insufficient, poor-quality or poorly timed sleep — each one of these can exacerbate mental health conditions.”

According to many sources, including the National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, teens should be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep a night. But fewer than one-fourth of high school students are meeting even the minimum, according to the results of the most recent national Youth Risk Behavior survey, conducted every two years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From a mental health standpoint, aiming for more than just the minimum eight hours can be most helpful, experts have found. In one study, teens who got 8¾ to nine hours of sleep per night had the lowest levels of mental health issues, including moodiness, feelings of worthlessness, anxiety and depression.

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