A recent study regarding sleep difficulties discovered a number of issues that could be associated with poor sleeping habits including binge drinking, driving under the influence and risky sexual behavior. The connection between poor sleep and substance abuse is especially prevalent in the younger population.
The study showed that lack of sleep and insomnia can be a factor in predicting the onset of alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Sleep problems are often indications of a vulnerability and increased risk for developing addiction disorders to alcohol or illicit drugs.
The less hours of sleep an individual gets on a regular basis the more they are at risk to have a problem with addiction in the near future.
Poor Sleep Prior to Developing Addiction
The study was headed by Maria Wong, a professor at Idaho State University, and her co-authors who analyzed data collected from 6,504 adolescents (52 percent girls and 48 percent boys) that participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The study reviewed the sleeping patterns of each participant and they were able to use sleeping difficulties to predict substance-related problems which occurred one to 3.5 years later.
The combination of sleeping difficulties or sleep insufficiency and alcohol or drug abuse can have a negative impact on individuals in both medical and behavioral areas. People can develop serious health problems when they suffer from insomnia and an addiction and they might also experience mental health issues as well.
It is common for people to experience problems like insomnia while they are coping with an addiction but this study proves that poor sleeping habits can actually precede and even contribute to the likelihood of someone developing a problem with drugs or alcohol. Mental and physical health problems can either worsen or start to develop when poor sleep and addiction are both an issue in the same person.
Progress Made by Sleep and Addiction Study
The research and discoveries in this new study have succeeded in adding to existing literature regarding sleep difficulties and substance abuse. The study has established a relationship between two sleep variables – sleep difficulties and hours of sleep and the odds of developing serious alcohol and drug-related problems as a result of sleeping habits.
With a nationally representative sample the study proves that there is a definite correlation between poor sleep and the development of addiction or substance abuse problems. The information produced by the study helps to advance the understanding of the relationship between sleep and substance abuse problems.
The study includes problems related to sleeping such as trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, as well as insufficient sleep based on the participant's total hours of sleep per night. The new discoveries in this study can help explain how certain factors like insomnia can be an element in why individuals are more vulnerable to addiction than others.
It is common for people with addictions to suffer from sleep problems while they are engaging in substance abuse and even after they go into recovery. Many drugs can disrupt sleep patterns and make it difficult for addicts to obtain a good night's sleep.
For addicts who have sleep problems prior to developing an addiction, their substance use will most likely worsen their insomnia as the abuse progresses. Other studies have shown that the connection between addiction and insomnia can begin before the substance abuse becomes a problem.
Even when insomnia begins early in life between the ages of 3 and 5, it can predict problems with alcohol and drugs later in life. The relationship between sleep difficulties and addiction remains a complex issue that requires further research to determine the exact correlation between insomnia and substance abuse.