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  1. chillinwill
    Teens who sleep fewer than seven hours per night are more likely to use illegal drugs, according to a study released overnight.

    The research also found a link between a lack of sleep and the likelihood of illegal drug use, which can spread through a teen network "like a contagion", infecting siblings, friends and acquaintances as many as four degrees' separation removed.

    Researchers at the University of California San Diego and at Harvard University mapped the sleep patterns and drug use of more than 8000 teens for the study.

    "Adolescents are embedded in complex social networks and are especially vulnerable to peer effects - possibly not only with respect to drugs, but also with respect to sleep," said the study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    The researchers found that a teen with one friend who sleeps fewer than seven hours is 11 per cent more likely to sleep fewer than seven hours.

    Teens with a friend who uses marijuana -- the most popular drug among US adolescents -- are more than twice as likely to use pot themselves.

    The researchers also said teens with a friend who sleeps less than seven hours per night are 19 per cent more likely to use marijuana.

    The study said the spread of poor sleep habits from one teen to another was partly to blame for an increased likelihood of drug use.
    The research also suggested a lack of sleep induces teens to try alcohol, and said increasing the number of hours a teen sleeps each night might help reduce substance abuse among adolescents.

    February 22, 2010
    Yahoo News
    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/6835288/study-links-lack-of-sleep-to-teen-drug-use/

Comments

  1. Coconut
    This is intriguing, but I would like to know why sleep deprivation causes people to turn to drugs. I have some theories which are relevant to my tree's own experiences, but I am far more interested in what others think.
  2. Paradox
    I think that this suggests that sleep deprivation and drug use are correlated, not causative.

    Teens who tend to stay up late most likely spend more time out with friends, or partying, ect. They also are more likely to have more relaxed parents. There are a million different things correlated with drug use. Somehow, I think that drug use might be more causative of the lost hour of sleep, than the sleep causing drug use.
  3. rawbeer
    Or perhaps these teens are using marijuana and alcohol because they aren't sleeping well?
    Perhaps insomniacs/people who have trouble sleeping are drawn to relaxing drugs? But then one would think they'd start sleeping better, hence weaken the correlation...
    Paradox makes a good point - it's hard to draw any sort of conclusions based on such evidence, especially when you don't know how it was gathered. There are a number of reasons why this correlation could have appeared. (I guess one could also argue that poor sleepers are more likely to be depressed - seems I've read that somewhere too - hence turn to drugs, but there are so many possibilities.)
    Interesting, though. You'd think potheads would sleep more.
  4. chillinwill
    Sleep Deprivation Influences Drug Use in Teens' Social Networks, Study Finds

    Recent studies have shown that behaviors such as happiness, obesity, smoking and altruism are "contagious" within adult social networks. In other words, your behavior not only influences your friends, but also their friends and so on. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Harvard University have taken this a step farther and found that the spread of one behavior in social networks -- in this case, poor sleep patterns -- influences the spread of another behavior, adolescent drug use.

    The study, led by Sara C. Mednick, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, will be published March 19 in PLoS ONE.

    "This is our first investigation of the spread of illegal drug use in social networks," said Mednick. "We believe it is also the first study in any age population on the spread of sleep behaviors through social networks."

    Using social network data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Mednick and her colleagues James H. Fowler, UCSD Department of Political Science and Nicholas A. Christakis, Harvard Medical School, mapped the social networks of 8,349 adolescents in grades 7 through 12. They found clusters of poor sleep behavior and marijuana use that extended up to four degrees of separation (to one's friends' friends' friends' friends) in the social network.

    Another novel network effect that they discovered was that teens who are at the center of the network are at greater risk of poor sleep, which in turn means they are more likely to use marijuana -- putting them at the crossroads of two behaviors increases a teenager's vulnerability.

    Contrary to the general assumption that drug use has a negative effect on sleep, the researchers also found that sleep loss is likely to drive adolescents to use drugs -- the less they sleep the more likely their friends are to sleep poorly and use marijuana.

    "Our behaviors are connected to each other and we need to start thinking about how one behavior affects our lives on many levels," said Mednick. "Therefore, when parents, schools and law enforcement want to look for ways to influence one outcome, such as drug use, our research suggests that targeting another behavior, like sleep, may have a positive influence. They should be promoting healthy sleep habits that eliminate behaviors which interfere with sleep: take the TV out of the child's bedroom, limit computer and phone usage to daytime and early evening hours, and promote napping."

    The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Aging and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

    Journal Reference:

    1. Sara C. Mednick, Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler, Kenji Hashimoto. The Spread of Sleep Loss Influences Drug Use in Adolescent Social Networks. PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (3): e9775 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009775


    March 20, 2010
    Science Daily
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100319202524.htm
  5. Nature Boy
    Pish-posh! Other studies suggest over-sleeping means you die younger:

    Sleep Deprivation: The Great American Myth

    People who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate than those who get 8 hours of sleep.
    —From a six-year study of more than a million adults

    Many Americans are sleep-deprived zombies, and a quarter of us now use some form of sleeping pill or aid at night.

    Wake up, says psychiatry professor Daniel Kripke of the University of California, San Diego. The pill-taking is real but the refrain that Americans are sleep deprived originates largely from people funded by the drug industry or with financial interests in sleep research clinics.

    "They think that scaring people about sleep increases their income," Kripke told LiveScience.

    Thanks to the marketing of less addictive drugs directly to consumers, sleeping pills have become a hot commodity, especially in the past five years. People worldwide spent $2 billion on the most popular sleeping pill, Ambien (zolpidem), in 2004, according to the BioMarket, a biotech research company.

    Earlier this month, it was reported that some Ambien users are susceptible to amnesia and walking in their sleep. Some even ate in the middle of the night without realizing it.

    Global sales for all sleeping pills, called hypnotics, will top $5 billion in the next several years.
    Some Serious Shut-eye

    Improved sleep behavior and attitudes do more good than sleeping pills for the treatment of insomnia, experts at a recent National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference agreed, says Daniel Kripke of the University of California, San Diego. The changes he recommends:

    * Do not take sleeping pills. This includes over-the-counter pills and melatonin.
    * Don't go to bed until you're sleepy. If you have trouble sleeping, try going to bed later or getting up earlier.
    * Get up at the same time every morning, even after a bad night's sleep. The next night, you'll be sleepy at bedtime.
    * If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back to sleep, get out of bed and return only when you are sleepy.
    * Avoid worrying, watching TV, reading scary books, and doing other things in bed besides sleeping and sex. If you worry, read thrillers or watch TV, do that in a chair that's not in the bedroom.
    * Do not drink or eat anything caffeinated within six hours of bedtime.
    * Avoid alcohol. It's relaxing at first but can lead to insomnia when it clears your system.
    * Spend time outdoors. People exposed to daylight or bright light therapy sleep better.

    The number of adults aged 20-44 using sleeping pills doubled from 2000 to 2004, according to Medco Health Solutions, a managed care company. Sleep problems are commonly reported in the elderly, but the increase in spending on sleeping pills was highest in this period for 10-19 year olds, possibly due to an association with medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Sleep on this

    Still, more sleep is no guarantee for overall health, and more sleeping pills might not bring on either.

    A six-year study Kripke headed up of more than a million adults ages 30 to 102 showed that people who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate than those who get 8 hours of sleep. The risk from taking sleeping pills 30 times or more a month was not much less than the risk of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, he says.

    Those who took sleeping pills nightly had a greater risk of death than those who took them occasionally, but the latter risk was still 10 to 15 percent higher than it was among people who never took sleeping pills. Sleeping pills appear unsafe in any amount, Kripke writes in his online book, "The Dark Side of Sleeping Pills."

    "There is really no evidence that the average 8-hour sleeper functions better than the average 6- or 7-hour sleeper," Kripke says, on the basis of his ongoing psychiatric practice with patients along with research, including the large study of a million adults (called the Cancer Prevention Study II).

    And he suspects that people who sleep less than average make more money and are more successful.

    The Cancer Prevention Study II even showed that people with serious insomnia or who only get 3.5 hours of sleep per night, live longer than people who get more than 7.5 hours.

    And there are questions about the effectiveness of sleeping pills. A study by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School found that a change in sleep habits and attitudes was more effective in treating chronic insomnia, over the short- and long-term, than sleeping pills (specifically Ambien).

    Night of the living dead

    Until 15 years ago, sleeping pills were mainly addictive, overdose-risky barbiturates (such as Seconal) and sedatives called benzodiazepines (Valium and Dalmane). For these reasons, they were less popular and less prescribed. That changed in the early 1990s when Ambien, which is less addictive, came on the market. It acts on the same neural receptors as a benzodiazepine, but is safer. It is the only hypnotic drug Kripke recommends and then, only for fewer than four weeks. Other new hypnotic drugs are safe but ineffective, he says.

    Most sleeping pills are recommended for short-term use, but lots of people take them frequently and become dependent upon them to fall asleep. Most sleeping pills, especially when taken over long periods of time, stay in the bloodstream, giving a hangover the next day and beyond, impairing memory and performance on the job and at home.

    A time-release version of Ambien (Ambien CR) bound for the market and designed to prevent waking after 4 hours when the drug normally would wear off, along with one of the newest pills on the market, Lunesta, or eszopiclone, (designed for longer-term use) might be even more harmful in this way, Kripke says.

    Hypnotic drugs have dangerous side effects, Kripke says. For one, they reduce fear of risky behavior, such as driving fast. Ironically, that could result in the inability to see that the sleeping pills are doing more harm than good over time.

    A recent study published in the British Medical Journal showed that the risks of taking sleeping pills (benzodiazepines and other sedatives, in this case) outweighed the benefits among people over 60 in a series of studies carried out between 1966 and 2003. The pills helped people fall asleep and they slept more, but they were twice as likely to slip and fall or crash a car due to dizziness from the pills than they were to get a better night's sleep.

    Even the safest hypnotic drugs have strange side effects, as the alleged Ambien sleepwalkers showed.

    And one over-the-counter approach, the hormone melatonin, was found by scientists at the University of Alberta, Canada, to be ineffective in treating jet lag and sleep trouble associated with medical problems. Studies also show it is associated with skin blanching in frogs, gonadal atrophy in small animals, and obesity in some mammals.

    Are you sleeping?

    The real number of Americans with sleep problems is unclear because the same figure—70 million—appears on National Institutes of Health documents from 2006 and from 1994. This catch-all category reportedly includes insomnia, jetlag, sleepwalking, bed wetting, night terrors, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and disordered breathing during sleep (called apnea).

    The National Sleep Foundation, the source of many sleep surveys and statistics, has financial and institutional ties to sleeping pill manufacturers, according to the Sacramento Bee newspaper.

    Sleep problems could be increasing, Kripke says, but there is no evidence for this. If they are increasing, it could be a result of less exposure to daylight (due to cable TV, the Internet, indoor gyms) and increasing obesity, which causes apnea. But he still recommends against taking sleeping pills in nearly all cases and in favor of improved sleep habits.

    "Sleeping pills usually do more harm than good," he says.


    By Robin Lloyd, Special to LiveScience

    posted: 23 March 2006 08:50 am ET

    http://www.livescience.com/health/060323_sleep_deprivation.html
  6. EscapeDummy
    Swim is a drug user and sleeps 9-10 hours per night. And he links his drug use to sleeping so much; he has to sleep a lot after either drinking or smoking pot late at night, ironic considering the conclusions that this study arrived at.
  7. [tanarilla.]
    There is nothing wrong with not sleeping. What is that 8 hour magic mark anyway? I bet it's something to do with the human attraction to symmetrics, 8 hours being 1/3 of a day.
  8. KingMe
    I remember losing some nights of sleep during my teens playing on the computer with friends. I bet there s a corelation there as well... :) warcraft 3 was really addictive

    but really, you have to give it to the writer of the original article in the OP: increasing the hours of sleep a teen gets might decrease the abuse of alcohol or illegal substances? really? i bet giving secure jobs to his parents and a comfortable home would also work....

    sorry for being sarcastic, just that sometimes the news i read seems to simplify everything
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