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Teens’ Sleep Health and Mental Health Strongly Linked

For Immediate Release
Contact: NSF Communications

National Sleep Foundation Says Teens’ Sleep Health and Mental Health Strongly Linked

NSF releases important new public health findings from its annual poll in advance of Sleep Awareness Week®

Washington, D.C. (March 7, 2024) – To kick off Sleep Awareness Week® 2024 (March 10-16), the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) released new findings from their annual Sleep in America® Poll. This year focused on exploring the important connection between sleep health and mental health in American teens. Results from this first-of-its-kind study in teens found that healthy sleep behaviors are closely linked to mental health in teens. Nearly 80% of teens who earn a grade of ‘B’ or higher for practicing healthy sleep behaviors are also free of significant depressive symptoms. 

Additional key results from the representative, population-level research show:

  • 8 out of every 10 teens don’t get enough sleep.
  • The typical teen gets an ‘F’ grade for practicing healthy sleep behaviors.
  • Teens who have trouble falling or staying asleep 2 or more nights a week have significantly more depressive symptoms.
  • Almost ¾ of teens say their emotional well-being is negatively impacted when they sleep less than usual.

Importantly, these results expand the base of knowledge about the connection between sleep health and mental health in the American public.  In 2023, NSF’s Sleep in America Poll® highlighted this similar connection in the general US adult population. As the US continues to face a mental health crisis, teens are in a particularly unenviable position, facing unique challenges and with unique sleep needs. 

“We’ve continued to emphasize for the public that sleep is critical for our health and well-being,” said John Lopos, National Sleep Foundation CEO, “and in the context of the mental health crisis it’s important to put more evidence behind the strong connection with sleep, especially in our kids.  This is a call to action for teens, families, educators, communities, and policymakers. What’s encouraging is we see where healthy sleep fits.” 

An annual survey, the Sleep in America Poll is one of the longest-running records capturing U.S. perceptions, attitudes, and trends in sleep health. The 2024 report combined results from a variety of sleep health tools, including NSF’s Sleep Health Index®, Sleep Satisfaction Tool®, and its Best Slept Self® Questionnaire, to assess how teens sleep and the PHQ-A to evaluate depressive symptoms in teens. 

“We combined NSF’s multiple validated measures of the population’s sleep health with an established measure of depressive symptoms to examine the link between sleep health and depressive symptoms in teenagers,” said Joseph Dzierzewski, PhD, Vice President of Research and Scientific Affairs at the National Sleep Foundation. “As a licensed clinician and a parent, the time is now to think about the important two-way connection between our sleep and mental health. Helping teens build healthy sleep habits can have a lasting, positive impact on their physical and mental health.” 

Also during Sleep Awareness Week 2024, NSF will be holding a Congressional Briefing entitled Sleep Health is Mental Health, on Wednesday, March 13. Members of Congress, staff, and interested stakeholders will hear from a multidisciplinary expert panel about the association between sleep health and mental health, plus discuss opportunities to effect positive change while Congress works towards comprehensive mental health legislation.

Sleep Awareness Week 2024 is sponsored through unrestricted funding and support from Avadel, Eisai, Inc., Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Waymo, Apnimed, Purecare, Asleep, Harmony Biosciences, Idorsia, NextSense, Variowell, PocketKado, Ozlo, Samsung Health, and Withings. 

Collaborators include American Heart Association, National PTA, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Organization for Youth Safety, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Rural Minds, National Coalition for the Homeless, and Higi who, among many other organizations and agencies, help to promote NSF’s sleep health messages.

For more sleep health information and to learn ways to help be your Best Slept Self®, visit 

If you’re still not getting the sleep you need after taking some basic steps, or if you have lasting symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider. That’s especially true if you are having challenges with your mood or feelings of depression. You are not alone. For anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek care. Contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.


About the National Sleep Foundation

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice. │

About the Sleep in America® Poll

The Sleep in America Poll is the National Sleep Foundation’s premier annual review of current sleep topics. The Poll was first conducted in 1991 and has been produced since 2018 by Langer Research Associates. The full Sleep in America Poll findings, including methodology, can be found at