Guest opinion: Keep Calm and Parent On | News | Palo Alto Online | Adam Strassberg:
Depression is a major factor in most suicides. Depression causes significant disruptions in sleep patterns. However, an emerging body of literature shows that sleep disruptions seem to precede and even precipitate depressive episodes.
Our children need to be sleeping more than us, not less than us. They need to be sleeping regular hours. Sufficient sleep must take priority over homework, athletics, social life, work, etc. I cannot overemphasize the importance of proper sleep hygiene. Poor sleep is just one of a great many contributing factors to depression, but it is such an easily controllable and preventable factor. Make your teens sleep.
My kids aren't teens yet, but they go to bed at 7:00 pm (asleep usually by 8:00-8:30, sometimes 10:00!). We can really tell when they don't have enough sleep.
There are more great ideas in this article. One of the most important is:
Asking about suicide does not increase the risk of suicide. Asking about suicide will not implant the idea of suicide into your teens. Asking about suicide decreases the risk of suicide. So please do ask your teen directly about suicide.
Talk about it!