Researchers warn sleep-deprived children are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol during adolescence.
The findings suggest every hour of less sleep as a child increases a teenager's likelihood of binge-drinking by 20% as well as leads to excessive use of drugs more often than their well-rested peers.
The researchers monitored 186 boys from western Pennsylvania, starting at age 11and also surveyed their sleep habits throughout the study.
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Then, at the age of 21, they were interviewed about any experiences they had had with drugs or alcohol.
Overwhelmingly, the boys who experienced more sleep disruption were the earliest to start drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and span a decade. It was part of a larger longitudinal study of low-income boys examining factors associated with vulnerability and resilience.