Saturday, January 17, 2015

Research continues to support later start times for high school students: lack of sleep related to alcohol problems

Research has shown that changes in melatonin levels caused by puberty make it hard for teenagers to fall asleep at a normal time, and that a large percentage of high school students are sleep-deprived due to early start times for classes.

When will high schools take steps to protect the health of high school students--and, as a side benefit, raise their test scores?

Teens who skip sleep are more likely to have drinking problems later in life, researchers say


...Maria Wong, a psychologist at Idaho State University said, according to TIME magazine, that though sleep is not the only contributor to alcohol-related issues -- citing genetics and peer influence -- it is one of the contributors that can be controlled.

'This study shows that sleep issues can actually precede and even predict alcohol use later on,' Wong said. 'If we can make sure [teens] have enough sleep, we can help them make good choices.' 

Polls show that nearly 50 percent of adolescents don't get the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep each night. 

Wong said that sleep deprivation could have dramatic affects on drinking behaviors. She said that each extra hour of sleep the teens in the study got, represented a 10 percent decrease in binge drinking. 

Meanwhile, the LA Times reports, evidence also shows a link between sleep deprivation and impaired cognitive functions. 

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