stk92553corA new research study shows that teenagers who get more sleep make better life decisions. The report was released in the publication Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The scientists who produced the study wanted to know if problems with sleeping and/or getting less sleep might lead to teenagers engaging in more dangerous activities, like substance abuse, binge drinking, unprotected sex and drunk or drugged driving. The study discovered that sleep difficulties or lack of sleep resulted in an elevated risk that the teenager would suffer from alcohol-related problems.

Data Included Information from 6,500-Plus Adolescents

The research team analyzed data from over 6,500 teenagers living throughout the United States. The data was from 1994 through 2002. The adolescents who complained of daily sleep problems during this time period had a 33 percent increased likelihood of partaking in dangerous behaviors. The scientists who completed the study concluded that parents should be more watchful of their teenagers' sleeping habits because their teens' failure to fall asleep could develop into more dangerous problems -- such as alcoholism and other dangerous behaviors -- later on down the road.

Other studies have sought to connect teenagers' propensity for dangerous behavior with external factors. For example, another study that was recently performed showed that television ads can encourage teens to engage in underage drinking. Teens who watched television commercials involving alcohol had a higher chance of drinking alcohol themselves -- in addition to a higher chance of drinking alcohol in dangerous amounts.

One might extrapolate from both these reports that teens who cannot sleep are watching more late night television commercials intended for a more mature audience, and both situations might influence each other.

Helping Teens Make Good Life Decisions

Regardless of how one interprets this evidence, parents of teens engaging in risky drinking behavior and other dangerous behaviors may have to help their teens if they get into trouble with the law. In such cases, parents may want to seek the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney -- in addition to a mental health counselor who can help support their child to adopt better life habits.