NIAA Study: Adolescents Suffering From Poor Sleep Turn More Often To Alcohol & Cannabis

NIAA Study: Adolescents Suffering From Poor Sleep Turn More Often To Alcohol & Cannabis

Late adolescents who have trouble sleeping are more likely to use alcohol or cannabis and have higher consequences from substance use, a recent longitudinal study showed. 

The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is considered the first to use a latent class approach to determine the association between alcohol and cannabis use and adolescents, writes Neurology Live. 

“Although our study did not focus specifically on insomnia disorder, what we found in looking at longitudinal profiles of sleep is that having poor sleep quality alone or in combination with other dimensions of disrupted sleep was associated with a higher frequency of alcohol use at baseline and greater increases in alcohol use over time, as compared to other sleep profiles with good sleep quality,” Wendy Troxel Ph.D., lead researcher and senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation told NeurologyLive.

“Similarly, the poor sleep quality profile was also associated with greater initial cannabis use and greater consequences related to cannabis use, as compared to the other sleep profiles. In other words, the presence of poor sleep quality which is a common insomnia symptom, was more strongly associated with more frequent alcohol and cannabis use, as compared to other quantitative dimensions of sleep, such as sleep duration,” Troxel added. 

Study Highlights

  • Nearly 3,000 late-growing adolescents took part in this study, with the mean age of the sample being 18 to 24 years and the majority being females (54%). 
  • Those considered poor sleepers had the highest levels of alcohol use which was significant in comparison with the good sleeper class. 
  • As for cannabis use, the unhealthy sleepers group had greater consequences in comparison with the good sleepers and the untroubled poor sleepers group. 
  • The good sleepers reported lower levels of alcohol or cannabis use and the health consequence of substance use compared with the other sleep classes.

Under the “consequences,” researchers considered negative health outcomes across the lifespan such as the risk of substance use disorder, mental and physical health morbidity, and premature mortality. 

“Results highlight the importance of addressing poor sleep quality in late adolescence, as a potential strategy to reduce the risk of continued use of alcohol and cannabis and associated consequences into adulthood,” Troxel concluded. 

Photo: Benzinga Edit; Sources: Pavel Danilyuk and cottonbro by Pexels

Posted In: cannabis and sleepinsomnia and marijuana useNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismNeurology LiveRAND CorporationWendy TroxelCannabisNewsMarkets


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