By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sleep can play a very powerful role in our body and sleep deprivation has been shown in all age groups to have damaging effects. But sleep plays perhaps the greatest role during the teen years.

In fact, researchers in New York have reported that going to bed earlier protects teenagers from feeling down – and in those at high risk – against depression and suicidal thoughts.

In one study, teens who regularly went to bed after midnight were 24% more likely to have depression than those who went to bed before 8 o’clock. Those who slept fewer than five hours a night had a 71% higher risk of depression.

Clearly sleep, or the lack of it, is not the only factor but it is worth thinking about.