Sleep-Deprivation in Adolescents Can Lead to Substance Abuse

The Concerning Connection Betwen Lack of Sleep and Substance Abuse

Recent studies have shown that those who are sleep-deprived are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than those who get enough sleep. When an individual lacks the appropriate hours of shut-eye, their cognitive development and brain chemistry is altered which does not allow them to perform their best. Teens and adolescents are especially at risk for substance abuse when they do not get enough sleep as a result of a disturbed natural sleep cycle.

There are a number of adverse effects of sleep deprivation such as:

  • Higher risk of substance abuse
  • Obesity
  • Inability to perform academically
  • Depression
  • Mental illness

There is a strong connection between those who do not get an adequate amount of sleep and substance abuse. A study that was conducted of high school students discovered that those who did not get at least eight hours of sleep each night were users of alcohol, tobacco products, and marijuana. Lack of sleep works to exacerbate substance abuse which can have consequential effects on the individual performance at school.

Not only does a lack of sleep prove to influence the likelihood of substance abuse, but it also affects normal brain function and can drastically impede on the individual’s ability to have a restful sleep. When the brains normal functionality is interfered by lack of sleep and substance abuse, the reward systems of the brain is altered.

Encouraging Sufficient Sleep

By ensuring that our teens get enough sleep each and every night will lessen the chances of them turning to substances of abuse. Getting enough sleep will also boost academic performance and improve attention spans. Proper screening can detect in an individual has a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, or nocturia. Determining if they do in fact suffer from any of these sleep disorders can help them get the help required in order to get a more restful nights sleep. There are various methods to treat these sleeping disorders and getting screened is step one in the determining process.

When indiivudals struggle with the ability to sleep, they may turn to alcohol in order to unwind and make them sleep better. In reality, alcohol does the complete opposite. Alcohol disrupts the REM stage of sleeping which is the stage that is responsible for deep sleep. This means that the indiivudals will wake up feeling unrested.

Tips for a Good Nights Rest

There are various steps that can be taken in order to ensure that you get a better nights sleep each and every night. Keeping in a routine of going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning is important as this will get your body into a pattern. Avoiding napping thorughout the day will ensure that you don’t get too much sleep mid-day which will only help you have a better nights sleep come night time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol and sleep, treatment is available.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.