Does sleep have any connection to alcohol?

Danielle Reysen
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April is alcohol awareness month, so as a clinical sleep educator, I did some research to see if there were any connections between sleep and alcohol. I found a few.

Teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk of developing issues with alcohol compared with their peers who don’t drink. Research has found that teens, ages 14 to 16, that have trouble falling or staying asleep are 47% more likely to engage in binge drinking than their peers who don't have sleep concerns.

Teens with sleep concerns are 14% more likely to drive drunk and 11% more likely to have social issues related to alcohol. Teens are advised to get eight to 10 hours of sleep per night. About 45% of teens don’t get enough sleep. Research shows that sleep issues come first and even predict alcohol use later on in life. A teen adding an extra hour of sleep corresponds with a 10% drop in binge drinking.

It isn’t easy for parents to ensure their teens are getting enough sleep. Because of the teen’s biology, simply saying, ‘Go to sleep earlier’ is not a reasonable solution. Teens may have difficulty falling asleep before 11 p.m. or midnight because of their body’s circadian rhythms.

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