One thing every mom and dad can appreciate is the value of a good night’s rest, especially parents with newborns. Now it turns out that for adolescents, enough sleep does a lot more than simply allow them to wake up with a smile on their faces; it could profoundly impact their emotional stability and by extension, their lives.

Recent data indicates that adolescents (children who fall roughly in the late teen years) whose bedtimes were set earlier by their parents were less likely to suffer from depression as well as thoughts of suicide. The findings, published in the journal, Sleep, suggest that earlier bedtimes, and by extension more sleep, could have a protective affect on children.

In the study in question, 54% of parents reported that their adolescents went to bed by 10:00 p.m., while 25% stayed up past midnight. According to the findings, when adolescent teens went to bed by 10:00 PM, they were 24% less prone to depression and had a 20% lower chance of having suicidal thoughts than children who went to bed after midnight. Additionally, children who reported getting only five or less hours of sleep per night were 78% more likely to suffer from depression and 48% more likely to think about suicide than children who got at least eight hours each night.

There are plenty of theories as to why sleep has such an affect on emotions. The authors of the study point to a number of possible reasons, including the affect it may have on the brain’s ability to modulate emotional responses to averse stimuli, as well as affecting judgment and impulse control. Furthermore, there are potential physiological consequences to sleep deprivation, including obesity and diabetes, which may contribute to one’s emotional state.

Regardless of the scientific conclusions, however, the article touches on the notion every parent is aware of firsthand: sleep is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing, ranking right up there food and the "other pleasurable parental pursuit."

You might even take the argument in favor of earlier bedtimes a step further and make the case that parents who set these hours for their kids (and stick to them) might be more of a presence and influence in their kids’ lives. This, in turn, could have a positive influence on their emotional state by confirming to them that, “Yes, my parents are a pain in the neck, but they care about me.”

Bear in mind, I’m no expert on the subject, but I am a parent, and I see firsthand the inability of parents (I’m guilty of it, too) to reign in their kids. They just stand around perplexed and seemingly incapable of telling junior to stop setting fire to the cat. Instead, they helplessly plead with their child to stop whatever it is they’re doing, while in the back of their minds they’re probably just hoping the situation will simply disappear. For the record, it rarely does.

Whatever be the case, I think most of us will agree that it is important for adults to be stand firm while showing that they care, and large part of that role entails being a parent and not their best friend. This, unfortunately, involves making the hard decisions that are not going to win you any popularity contests, which can be difficult.

Then again, nobody said parenting was easy, and if they did, then they surely had full time help, which in turn allowed them to get a good night’s sleep.