Sleep duration and quality of sleep during late childhood may affect the use of alcohol and cannabis later in adolescence years, a study has found.
“Improve the amount and quality of sleep during late childhood as it would benefit in terms of reducing substance use in later life,” said Assistant Professor Brant P. Hasler from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
For the study, researchers analysed 186 boys of low-income family and examined factors associated with vulnerability and resilience.
After accounting for race, socio-economic problems, neighbourhood threat, self-regulation, and internal and external factors, both sleep duration and sleep quality at the age of 11 were associated with early substance use throughout adolescence.
The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, said participants who slept the least, compared to those who slept the most, were more likely to report earlier use, intoxication and repeated use of both alcohol and cannabis.
Every hour of less sleep at 11 years was associated with a 20 per cent increase in the first use of alcohol and/or cannabis.
While the quality of sleep though associated with alcohol use, intoxication and repeated use was not responsible the first use.
“After considering other possible influences, we were able to determine that sleep anomalies are preceding the substance use problems. Addressing sleep deficiencies may now be something we can add into the package of our substance abuse prevention and treatment efforts,” Hasler added.