Notice your kids acting out or not quite their usual selves? Chances are they might not be getting enough shut-eye, finds new study.

According to new research published in the Journal Jama Pediatrics, kids who managed less sleep than their peers were likelier to engage in risk-taking behaviour such as using illicit substances and unprotected sexual activity as well as having depressive thoughts.

“Fewer hours of sleep on an average school night [is] associated with increased odds of all selected unsafe behaviours,” write the authors.

In their investigation, scientists divided participants in several categories: eight hours or more, seven hours, six hours or less than six hours.

Results found that teens who slept less than six hours a night were three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, compared to young adults who slept eight or more hours a night. Meanwhile, they were also four times likely to have reported a suicide attempt that results in needing treatment.

Analysing data from the Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, over 8 years between 2007 and 2015, researchers found that 70 per cent of high school students weren’t getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night.

– Alex Pierotti

Read More: Study Finds Sleep-Deprived Kids are Prone to Riskier Behaviour

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