Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alcohol Use Risk Rises for Adolescents with Sleep Problems

Teens that develop sleep problems around the onset of puberty are more likely to use alcohol. A new study connects previous findings on adolescent sleep problems and alcohol use to puberty.

Some early-maturing adolescents develop “night owl” tendencies during the sleep pattern transition associated with the onset of puberty. Those individuals are most at-risk to develop sleep problems.

Separate research shows adolescents who hit puberty earlier than their peers are more likely to drink.

Survey data shows a clear link between those two groups. The early-maturing teens that get to sleep later were more likely to use alcohol.

The findings are in line with previous research on adults; Sleep problems can predict the onset of alcohol abuse.

The conclusion was based on questionnaires from a previous study involving Dutch school children. The authors narrowed down the field to only responses from adolescents ages 11 to 14. The findings were consistent across both genders and all education levels included in the study.

The findings will be featured in the September issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. The abstract is available online prior to publication.

Photo Courtesy Paul Hocksener

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