Substance use and adolescent sleep are correlated, with higher substance abuse being responsible for reduced sleep and vice versa. However, not enough research has been done to establish the association between sleep and alcohol use among early adolescents, or on the effect of psychopathological symptoms (hostility, depression, anxiety, etc.) and parental monitoring.
However, a recent research by the Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey has established a link between insomnia and frequency of alcohol use among early adolescents. The study led by Naomi Marmorstein, a professor of psychology at Rutgers-Camden, examined a potential association between alcohol use frequency and initial insomnia, sleep irregularity, disturbed sleep and subjective daytime sleepiness among low-income, ethnic minority sample of early adolescents. The researchers also considered whether psychopathology symptoms (depressive and conduct disorder) and/or parental monitoring had any effect on the association between sleep and alcohol use among early adolescents.
Alcohol use and daytime sleepiness
For the study, researchers examined potential associations between alcohol use and sleep-related issues, including sleep irregularity, disturbed sleep, daytime sleepiness and initial insomnia among low-income, ethnic minority sample of early adolescents. The study involved 127 youths who were assessed using self-reported measures of sleep, alcohol use, psychopathology symptoms and parental monitoring. The participants were seventh- and eighth-graders who were part of the Camden Youth Development Study that examines the development of mental health problems and resilience among youth-at-risk.
The participants completed questionnaires on the time they took to fall asleep, the frequency of sleep disturbances, the times they usually went to bed on a weekday, weekend or vacation night and if they went to sleep in the class or had trouble staying awake after school. The participants were also assessed on the frequency of any alcohol use in the previous four months. The research also took into account the depressive symptoms and evidence of conduct disorder symptoms of the students. Reports pertaining to the presence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) shared by the teachers were also utilized.
The study found the frequency of alcohol use among early adolescents was associated with initial insomnia and daytime sleepiness. According to Marmorstein, “Parents, educators, and therapists should consider insomnia to be a risk marker for alcohol use, and alcohol use a risk marker for insomnia, among early adolescents.”
Teen alcohol use a growing problem
According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 16.3 million people aged 12 or above were heavy alcohol users in the past month and 191,000 youths aged 12 to 17 were current heavy alcohol users in the year.
Alcohol poses enormous health and safety risks to teenagers and young adults. Its repeated use and increasing amounts can lead to addiction and other dangerous consequences. Additionally, teens who drink excessively are more likely to become problem drinkers as adults. In addition to causing physical harm, drinking also affects a student’s academic performance, resulting in poor grades, missing classes and poor exam performance. Due to their different treatment needs, it is recommended to seek professional treatment at certified teen rehab centers.
Road to recovery
Separate from adult treatment setup, teen alcohol rehab involves a combination of evidence-based therapies along with traditional therapies and behavioral counseling sessions. A leader in the country in providing evidence-based alcohol treatment for teens, Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego is dedicated to treating both the cause and symptoms of alcohol abuse along with any co-occurring mental illnesses, if any, in boys and girls aged 12 to 17.
For more information on our top-notch teen alcohol abuse treatment program or to locate state-of-the-art teen rehab centers near you, call our 24/7 helpline and speak with our advisors. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.