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Poor Sleep Tied to More Drinking, Drug Use by Teens

That increases chances of accidents, injuries and unplanned pregnancies, study says

FRIDAY, Jan. 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of sleep raises teens' risk of alcohol and drug problems, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 6,500 American teens that was collected in three separate waves: 1994-95, 1996 and 2001-02.

The findings appear in the February online issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"Sleep difficulties at the first wave significantly predicted alcohol-related interpersonal problems, binge drinking, [getting] drunk or very high on alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol, getting into a sexual situation one later regretted due to drinking," while drug and drug-related problems were predicted at the second wave, study corresponding author Maria Wong said in a journal news release. She is the director of experimental training in the department of psychology at Idaho State University.

Wong added that alcohol and drug problems are linked to risky behaviors that can lead to car accidents, physical injuries, infection with sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.

The study only found an association between lack of sleep and drug and/or alcohol problems in teens, not a cause-and-effect link.

"National polls indicate that 27 percent of school-aged children and 45 percent of adolescents do not sleep enough," Wong noted.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more about teens and sleep.

SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, news release, Jan. 16, 2015
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