Boffins have given teens yet another reason to get a good night’s rest, for a new study has found that sleep deprivation can lead to people to take up smoking and drinking.
The study, conducted by Dr Xianchen Liu of the University of Pittsburgh, was based a questionnaire survey among 1,362 adolescents, with an average age of 14.6 years, in five high schools in China.
The self-administered questionnaire collected data on sleep patterns, sleep problems, smoking and drinking behaviour, behavioural and emotional problems, life stress, and demographic characteristics of the adolescent and family.
The results showed that sleeping less than eight hours at night, frequent nightmares and difficulty initiating sleep were significantly associated with drinking.
Further, smoking was related to sleeping less than eight hours, bedtime later than midnight, nightmares, difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep and hypnotic medication use.
"These findings demonstrate significant associations between sleep quantity and sleep disturbances and smoking and drinking in Chinese adolescents," said Dr Liu.
"Although prospective, longitudinal studies are warranted, these findings suggest a potential role of sleep intervention – that is, education in sleep hygiene and the treatment of sleep disturbances – in the prevention of adolescent substance use," Dr Liu added.
Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.
The study was presented at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).