Research & Resources

Sleep Problems Associated with Alcohol and Cannabis Use

Researchers examined the association between sleep problems and alcohol and cannabis use across six annual waves of data from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Participants were 3,265 youth from California (ages 16–22 across waves). At each wave, questionnaires assessed participants’ past-month alcohol use and cannabis use, mental health, and several dimensions of sleep health, including social jet lag (different sleep patterns on the weekends than during the work week), bedtimes, time spent in bed, and trouble sleeping. Smaller declines in social jet lag, increases in trouble sleeping, and later weekday and weekend bedtimes were associated with increases in likelihood of alcohol use over time. Declines in weekend time spent in bed, as well as increases in weekday time spent in bed and later weekday and weekend bedtimes, were associated with increases in likelihood of cannabis use over time. Most associations remained significant after controlling for time-varying mental health symptoms. Improving sleep is an important target for intervention efforts to reduce the risk of substance use during this critical developmental transition.

This paper, “Longitudinal associations of sleep problems with alcohol and cannabis use from adolescence to emerging adulthood,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and published in the journal Sleep.

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