Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Poor sleep is a risk of alcoholism?

Sleep disturbance is a great problem for many people. It is a matter of attention for psychiatrists as I also mentioned previously.

My past entry: Five essences for beautiful sleep

My past entry: Sleep science

Very recently, a study regarding sleep in adolescents was published in an academic journal. The result was that poor sleep in adolescent predicted several risk of mental problems such as excessive alcohol taking. The authors emphasize the importance of education regarding proper sleep in youths.

Los Angeles Times: Poor sleep in adolescence predicts future problems, study says

Time: Study: Teens Who Get Less Sleep More Vulnerable to Drinking Problems

This article is available at the website of the journal, but, unfortunately, not for free.

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

I have not read the whole article, but this result is persuasive, for many people begin to rely on alcohol to overcome insomnia, causing alcohol dependence in a longer term. It seems a prospective cohort study in which thousands of adolescents were subjected. Its advantage is that the causal relationship between sleep time and mental problems in the future can be highly estimated, compared to retrospective study methods.

However, there are some possibilities to explain this result. Those who take poor sleep may have organic problems that are potentially causing further mental problems. If so, Educational intervention is not beneficial for adolescents at high risk to prevent mental problems.

Methodologically, identifying such modulators is not easy. A randomized controlled trial can the actual effect of the intervention. However, it is time-consuming to conduct longitudinal clinical trial. Ethical issues also have to be considered.

On the other hand, I have heard a hypothesis that adolescents hardly sleep by nature. They tend to be awake until midnight regardless of environmental stimulation. I am not sure if this idea is correct. I have been a good sleeper since I was a child.

Another matter is the modern environment. We have many things to do at midnight, both for business and entertainment. Research show that Japanese is the people who have the shortest sleep. There are some reasons for it, perhaps also both the business and entertainment. In such a society, having more sleep can be disadvantageous.

We can do nothing while sleeping, whereas sleep is essential for survival. There are still many mysteries around sleep.

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