According to a research study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research journal poor sleep in the years of adolescence could be an early hint to future illicit drug use, alcohol problems, and a sexual behavior that can be “regretful” in the following years of adulthood.
Prof Maria Wong, Idaho State University, led a team of US scientists for the project. The researchers found that adolescents who have sleep disorders or bad habits related to sleep were having a higher chance to engage in behaviors risky to their health in the years to come than the teenagers that had a soundly sleep. The researchers say that teenagers’ parents should pay attention to their children’s sleep schedules. Other research suggests a good night’s sleep is the key to making good judgments.
Scientists analyzed a set of data that came from studying over 6,500 teens in the United States. They tracked the patterns of sleep, drug use and alcohol in a survey throughout the United States conducted in three groups, from 1994 to 2002. The people whose night sleep was disorganized faced a bigger risk to have drug and alcohol problems.
The researchers wanted to investigate if insufficient or poor sleep can be linked to future such problems in the teenagers’ life.
Teens which said they have sleep problems that occurred at least one time a week faced a risk related to alcohol consumption, a sexual behavior later regretted, or use illicit drugs in the following years.
When the sleep problem was greater, the link seemed to be even stronger. Teenagers with sleep problems that occurred almost daily were having a higher risk up to 33 percent to experience issues like alcohol, drugs or inappropriate sexual behavior than the ones who didn’t face those sleep problems.
Researchers found that the pattern was more and more visible when the teenagers reported less and less hours of sleep. Their risks regarding the above mentioned problems were greater.
An hour of sleep over the average suggested that it could offer protection. For every additional hour there was recorded a decrease in the risk to engage alcohol, drug related problems or a regrettable sexual behavior.
Professor Maria Wong said that we do not value sleep as an important factor. But the study’s results point to the fact that serious problems which appear over the years are influenced by it.
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