A new study suggests that teenagers aged 14 to 16 who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep have nearly 50% chances of becoming binge drinkers later in life.

This means sleep-deprived teens could later grow into adults having drinking problems; and in fact, the study reveals that 14% of such teens are likely to drive drunk to the point of causing accidents and death.

Involved in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health study were over 6,000 teenagers that didn’t sleep well and those suffering from sleep-related illnesses like insomnia. The group commenced tracking the participants since the mid-90s up to the time the study was released for review.

The researchers found that teens that experienced sleep difficulties in high school are 10% more likely to drive drunk when they get to college or slighter older, than those that did not have any initial sleep disorders.

Citing the fact that genetics and peer influence can also affect sleep pattern, Maria Wong of the Idaho State University stated that lack of sleep is one of the contributors to alcohol-related issues, even though this can be helped.

“This study shows that sleep issues can actually precede and even predict alcohol use later on,” Wong said. “If we can make sure [teens] have enough sleep, we can help them make good choices.”

And since survey indicates that about 50% of adolescents don’t get the recommended 8-10 hours of daily sleep, Wong announced that this could impact on drinking behaviors. She added that each extra hour of sleep the teens in the study got, represented a 10 percent decrease in binge drinking.

But then, a report by the LA Times indicated that a link exists between sleep deprivation and impaired cognitive functions.

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