MINNEAPOLIS, June 14 (UPI) -- A lack of sleep among high school students may light the way to habits of drinking and smoking, a new Chinese study suggests.
Xianchen Lui, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, compiled results of a questionnaire filled in by 1,362 adolescents from five high schools in China.
The students were asked about sleep habits, smoking habits and drinking habits.
In his report Wednesday to the 21st annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, Lui said that he found links between disturbed sleep and both drinking and smoking habits.
"These findings demonstrate significant associations between sleep quantity and sleep disturbances and smoking and drinking in Chinese adolescents," Lui said. "Although prospective, longitudinal studies are warranted, these findings suggest a potential role of sleep intervention -- that is, education in sleep hygiene and the treatment of sleep disturbances -- in the prevention of adolescent substance abuse."
The survey found that 20 percent of the youths -- average age 14.6 years --were smokers; 22 percent had experimented with alcohol and 16 percent were current drinkers.
Both smoking and drinking tended to increase with age and were more prevalent in boys than in girls.