Lack of Youth Sleep Predicts Marijuana Use & Binge Drinking

A new longitudinal study published in Sleep examined whether sleep characteristics predicted youth substance use the following year.  

The researchers concluded that eveningness (late-night preference), later sleep timing and shorter sleep duration, especially on weekdays, are risk factors for cannabis and binge drinking among both adolescents and young adults.  

The key implication is that interventions aimed at improving sleep problems are an important strategy for preventing youth and young adult substance misuse such as marijuana and harmful alcohol consumption.  

Evidence-based Programs Addressing Sleep  

We ran a search of evidence-based programs addressing sleep on the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development registry website using the term “sleep” in the search window.   

Five programs were identified.  Two programs addressing sleep are single-session interventions that integrate substance use prevention with protective wellness behaviors for youth and young adults (SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness).  Another two programs are training interventions for caregivers of young children (Family Foundations and Promoting First Relationships).  The other program addressing sleep is a school climate change and multi-lesson curriculum for elementary and middle school youth (Positive Action).   

Brief descriptions and links for more information on each of the five evidence-based programs addressing sleep are listed below.  

  1. Positive Action: A school-based social emotional learning program for students in elementary and middle schools to increase positive behavior, reduce negative behavior, and improve social and emotional learning and school climate: https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/programs/182999999/positive-action/ 
  2. Family Foundations: A universal prevention program to improve mother, child and birth outcomes through promoting coparenting quality among couples who are expecting their first child: https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/programs/441999999/family-foundations/ 
  3. InShapePrevention Plus Wellness: A brief (one-session) prevention program to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of college students (and other young adults) by connecting positive health habits and images with the avoidance of risky alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drug use: https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/programs/559999999/inshape-prevention-plus-wellness/ 
  4. Promoting FirstRelationships: A training program for service providers in the use of effective strategies for promoting secure and healthy relationships between caregivers and youth children birth to three years of age: https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/programs/1185999999/promoting-first-relationships/ 
  5. SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness: A (one-session) health promotion program that highlights the positive image benefits of an active lifestyle to reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and drug use by high school (and other grade school) students in addition to improving their overall physical health: https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/programs/477999999/sport-prevention-plus-wellness/  

Research abstract: https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article-abstract/44/Supplement_2/A240/6260818?redirectedFrom=fulltext  

Article describing the study: https://www.sleepmeeting.org/sleep-characteristics-predict-cannabis-use-binge-drinking-in-teens-and-young-adults/ 

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