Insomnia linked to alcohol-use frequency among early adolescents, says new psychology study

November 8, 2017 by Tom Mclaughlin, Rutgers University
Marmorstein says that parents, educators, and therapists should consider insomnia to be a risk marker for alcohol use. Credit: Rutgers University

Insomnia is linked to frequency of alcohol use among early adolescents, according to new Rutgers University–Camden research.

"Parents, educators, and therapists should consider to be a risk marker for alcohol use, and alcohol use a risk marker for insomnia, among early adolescents," writes Rutgers–Camden researcher Naomi Marmorstein in the study, published recently in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Marmorstein, a professor of psychology at Rutgers–Camden, examined the associations between alcohol use and four sleep-related issues: initial insomnia; ; sleep irregularity, defined as the difference in weekday and weekend bedtimes; and disturbed sleep, characterized as nightmares, snoring, sleepwalking, wetting the bed, and talking in sleep.

When sleep problems were found to be associated with frequency of alcohol use, she examined whether symptoms of or levels of parental monitoring accounted for these associations.

The research focused on seventh- and eighth-grade students participating in the Camden Youth Development Study, an initiative funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health. The study examines the development of mental health problems and resilience among at-risk youth.

Youth completed questionnaires in the classroom that asked how long it took for them to fall asleep, what times they usually went to bed on a weekday and on the weekend or vacation night, how often they experienced sleep disturbances, and whether they ever fell asleep in class or had trouble staying awake after school. They were also asked the frequency of any alcohol use in the previous four months.

In addition, students answered questions which were used to assess depressive symptoms, as well as evidence of conduct disorder symptoms.

Teachers also completed questionnaires, which were analyzed to determine the presence of symptoms.

Overall, there were associations between alcohol and both insomnia and daytime sleepiness. Importantly, Marmorstein determined that symptoms of mental health problems and did not account for the link between insomnia and alcohol use.

"These findings indicate that insomnia may be a unique risk marker for alcohol use among young adolescents," she says.

The Rutgers–Camden researcher notes that the findings are consistent with associations found between insomnia and among older adolescents and adults.

Explore further: People who worry about insomnia have more health problems than non-worriers, study finds

Related Stories

People who worry about insomnia have more health problems than non-worriers, study finds

November 7, 2017
People who worry about poor sleep have more emotional and physical problems during the day than those who do not worry, regardless of how well either sleep, according to research conducted at The University of Alabama.

Children's sleep quality linked to mothers' insomnia

August 31, 2017
Children sleep more poorly if their mothers suffer from insomnia symptoms - potentially affecting their mental wellbeing and development - according to new research by the University of Warwick and the University of Basel.

Study links suicide risk with insomnia, alcohol use

December 22, 2014
A new study is the first to show that insomnia symptoms mediate the relationship between alcohol use and suicide risk, and that this mediation is moderated by gender. The study suggests that the targeted assessment and treatment ...

Adolescents who have experienced terror attacks suffer from sleep disturbance

September 27, 2017
Adolescents who have experienced terror attacks suffer from sleep disturbance for years after the event. Researchers believe there is a need for better assessment and treatment of sleep disturbance in adolescents who have ...

Teen insomnia is linked with depression and anxiety

July 30, 2014
A study of high school students by University of Adelaide psychology researchers has shed new light on the links between insomnia-related mental health conditions among teens.

Recommended for you

Quitting junk food produces similar withdrawal-type symptoms as drug addiction

September 20, 2018
If you plan to try and quit junk food, expect to suffer similar withdrawal-type symptoms—at least during the initial week—like addicts experience when they attempt to quit using drugs.

Low academic achievement can lead to drug abuse decades later, research finds

September 13, 2018
A Virginia Commonwealth University researcher has found that poor academic achievement can lead to substance abuse. Data collected from Swedish participants over a period of 15 to 20 years indicate a strong correlation.

Cocaine addiction traced to increase in number of orexin neurons

September 12, 2018
A study in cocaine-addicted rats reports long-lasting increases in the number of neurons that produce orexin—a chemical messenger important for sleep and appetite—that may be at the root of the addiction. The study, performed ...

Single-step nasal spray naloxone easiest to deliver according to new research

August 29, 2018
Single-step nasal spray naloxone is the easiest to deliver, according to new research led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University at New York.

Scientists identify 35 genes associated with cannabis use

August 28, 2018
A large-scale genetic study found that some of the same genes associated with the use of cannabis are also associated with certain personality types and psychiatric conditions. The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, ...

SMURF1 provides targeted approach to preventing cocaine addiction relapse

August 14, 2018
A class of proteins that has generated significant interest for its potential to treat diseases, has for the first time, been shown to be effective in reducing relapse, or drug-seeking behaviors, in a preclinical study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.