A recent study has discovered that sleep quality and duration in late childhood can predict alcohol and drug use later in a person’s life.
The research, which was published in the journal, ‘Drug and Alcohol Dependence’, was conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh school of medicine and the department of psychology.
“Treating problems with drugs and alcohol once they exist and preventing them can be challenging, and we are always looking for modifiable risk factors,” said Brant P. Hasler, one of the authors of the research.
“Doing what we can to ensure sufficient sleep duration and improve sleep quality during late childhood may have benefits in terms of reducing the use of these substances later in life.”
186 boys from western Pennsylvania were studied in the research and the responses to the Child Sleep questionnaire filled by the mothers of the boys were analysed.
The quality of sleep of the boys at the age of 11 was determined using the responses to the questionnaire, and they were interviewed at the ages 20 and 22 years regarding their use of marijuana and alcohol.
Race, socioeconomic differences, neighborhood problems and self-regulation were some of the factors that were accounted for when researchers discovered the link between sleep quality and substance use.
The boys who slept the least were more likely to report early use of alcohol or marijuana, intoxication and repeated substance use.
“After considering other possible influences, we were able to determine that sleep problems are preceding the substance use problems,” Hasler said.
“Addressing sleep may now be something we can add into the package of our substance abuse prevention and treatment efforts.”
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