New Research: Self-reported Sleep and Circadian Characteristics Predict Alcohol and Cannabis Use
Although multiple specific sleep characteristics can contribute to risk factors for alcohol and cannabis use and related problems in later adolescence and young adulthood, most research has examined a limited range of sleep characteristics within a narrow age span. In a recent study, Pitt Psychiatry investigators including Brant Hasler, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Clinical and Translational Science), Jessica Graves, MS (Staff Statistician), Meredith Wallace, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Statistics, and Biostatistics), Peter Franzen, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychiatry), and Duncan Clark, MD, PhD (Professor of Psychiatry) used six annual assessments from the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence study. The assessments spanned adolescence and young adulthood with an accelerated longitudinal design to examine whether multiple sleep characteristics in any year predict alcohol and cannabis use the following year. They published the results in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Eight hundred thirty-one individuals, with an overall baseline age range of 12–21 years old, took part in the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence study. Sleep variables included circadian preference (preferred timing of sleep and activity), sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, the timing of midsleep, and sleep duration. The scientists used generalized linear mixed models to test whether repeatedly measured sleep characteristics predicted alcohol binge severity or cannabis use the following year, covarying for age, sex, race, visit, parental education, and previous year's substance use.
Findings from the study showed that a greater preference for late sleep-wake timing, more daytime sleepiness, later weekend sleep timing, and shorter sleep duration all predicted more severe alcohol binge drinking the following year. Only greater preference for late sleep-wake timing predicted a greater likelihood of any cannabis use the following year. Based on exploratory analyses, some associations, such as greater preference for late sleep-wake timing and shorter weekend sleep duration, predicted binge severity only in female participants, and middle school and high school versus post-high school adolescents were more vulnerable to sleep-related risk for cannabis use.
“These findings extend the prior literature supporting sleep’s role in the risk for substance use in at least two ways. First, they underscore the multi-dimensional nature of sleep, suggesting that elucidating the patterns of relevant sleep characteristics may be important to understanding risk for substance use, in contrast to the narrower focus on individual aspects of sleep (such as duration) of many past studies. Second, although our exploratory analyses need replication, they suggest that biological sex and developmental context may be key moderators of which combinations of sleep characteristics predict risk for substance involvement, which could have key implications for precision medicine approaches to preventing substance use disorders,” said Dr. Hasler, the study’s corresponding author.
Self-reported Sleep and Circadian Characteristics Predict Alcohol and Cannabis Use: A Longitudinal Analysis of the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence Study
Hasler BP, Graves JL, Wallace ML, Claudatos S, Franzen PL, Nooner KB, Brown SA, Tapert SF, Baker FC, Clark DB
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, May 2022, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.14808