POCATELLO, Idaho, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Young people who don't regularly get a good night's sleep may end up engaging in heavy drinking and risky sexual behavior later in life, according to a new study.
Youths in the United States often don't get enough sleep, claims one of the study's authors, Maria Wong, a professor of developmental psychology at Idaho State University. The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which is a survey of 6,504 students between grades 7 and 12.
"National polls indicate that 27 percent of school-aged children and 45 percent of adolescents do not sleep enough," said Wong. "Other studies have shown that about one in 10 adolescents have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep almost every day, or every day, in the previous 12 months."
Wong writes in the study that poor sleep habits are often associated with insomnia, but there are other reasons young people may have trouble sleeping. Academic and social concerns, poor sleep hygiene and focusing too much on Internet activity may also contribute to poor sleep or not enough sleep.
The study is published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.