Poor sleep? ‘Early warning sign’ for drugs and sexual activities in teens

Poor sleep in teenage years could be an early warning sign for alcohol problems, illicit drug use and sexual behavior, research suggests.

Scientists found that adolescents with bad sleep habits were more likely to engage in risky behavior in the years to come than those who slept soundly.

They say parents should pay closer attention to teens’ sleep schedules. Other research suggests a good night’s sleep is key to making good judgements.

Writing in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, scientists analyzed data from more than 6,500 adolescents in the United States.

They tracked sleep patterns, alcohol and drug use through a large nationwide survey conducted in three waves between 1994 and 2002.

People who slept badly when first questioned were most likely to have alcohol and drug problems at that time. But researchers also wanted to tease out whether poor or insufficient sleep were independently linked to the development of such problems in later life.

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