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Binge drinking during adolescence linked with harmful consequences on sleep quality in young adulthood

Little research has explored the effects of a history of adolescent binge drinking on sleep in young adulthood in high-risk minority populations. A new study sought to quantify sleep disturbance and examined the effect of binge drinking on sleep in Mexican Americans and American Indians. Participants (N = 800) were local community individuals of Mexican American and American Indian descent who were between the ages of 18 to 30 years. Participants completed a screening questionnaire followed by an interview. The questionnaire collected information related to demographics, personal medical history, ethnicity, and current and past substance use history, including adolescent binge drinking. The interview included a Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism (SSAGA), which was used for DSM diagnoses. Lastly, sleep quality was quantified using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). The authors used linear regression models as well as logistic regression to determine the relationships between binge drinking and the PSQI variables. Results indicated that female participants were significantly more likely to wake up at night, report more bad dreams, and were more likely to have a later habitual bedtime. On the other hand, male participants were significantly more likely to report problems with breathing and snoring (all p’s < 0.05). Increase in age was associated with a greater likelihood to snore or cough (p < 0.05), a decrease in the number of hours spent in bed (p < 0.02), and later evening bedtimes (p > 0.02). Furthermore, American Indian participants reported significantly longer sleep latencies and sleep durations, more hours spent in bed, and more trouble with coughing and snoring while Mexican American participants reported later bedtimes (all p’s < 0.05). In addition, a history of adolescent regular binge drinking was found to be significantly associated with current responses on the PSQI. Binge drinkers had significantly longer sleep latencies, reported more problems with breathing and bad dreams, and had an overall higher PSQI total score (all p’s < 0.05).

Take away: This study found gender, ethnic group and history of binge drinking to be associated with several items on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) among young adults.

Ehlers, C. L., Wills, D., & Gilder, D. A. (2018). A history of binge drinking during adolescence is associated with poorer sleep quality in young adult Mexican Americans and American Indians. Psychopharmacology, 1-8.

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