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Poor Sleep in Teens May Lead to Alcohol and Drug Addiction


Latest study suggests that teens having poor sleep pattern also have the risk of becoming addicts. Researchers have found that sleep deprived teenagers are more likely to be affected with alcohol problems, drug abuse and regretful sexual behavior. Previous studies have also revealed that good sleep habit is the key to make better judgments later in life. Owing to the findings of the new study, scientists are now advising the parents to pay attention to the sleeping habits of their children. The study has been published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

For the study, the scientists examined 6,500 adolescents in the United States, many of whom suffered from insomnia or other sleep disorders. The sleeping pattern of each teen, along with their alcohol or drug use, was analyzed by the researchers. The data was collected from three years 1994-1995, 1996 and 2001-2002. A comparison was made between the earlier data and the data obtained in the later years to find out if any correlation exists between them.

In the first wave of data, those who reported sleeping trouble were most likely to report drug and alcohol related issues in the second wave of data. The researchers carried out further investigations to see if there was any direct relation between sleep deprivation and development of such problems. Results showed that teens who reported poor sleep at least once a week were more likely to get involve in binge drinking, as compared to those who did not have any trouble with sleeping. Those sleep deprived teens were also found to be engaging more in sexual behavior. They later regret their behavior and took illicit drugs.

There is a higher probability of becoming an alcohol addict for the teenagers, aged between 14 and 16, who suffer from sleep disorders. These teens are also prone to drunken driving. The study revealed that 45 percent of teenagers do not get proper sleep and 27 percent of teens fail to get enough sleep. This also explains the increasing rate of alcoholism and drug abuse in the US.

Study leader Maria Wong, professor and director of experimental training in the department of psychology at Idaho State University, said “Most of the time we don’t think sleep is important. But our results show sleep is a good marker of some serious later problems.” Wong added “A lot of parents don’t monitor their adolescents’ sleep schedules and let them make their own decisions about when to go to bed. But parents need to start talking to their teenagers, not just about grades and extra-curricular activities but about sleep too. And they must get help if needed.”


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