As per a study by the students of U.S. high school, teens who are sleep-deprived are more likely to engage in drinking, smoking and having unprotected sex than their peers who sleep well.
On an average, seven out of ten American high school students sleep for less than eight hours a night.
Compared with teens who got at least eight hours of sleep, high school students who got less than six hours were twice as likely to drink alcohol, almost twice as likely to use tobacco, and more than twice as likely to use other drugs or engage in risky sexual activity.
They were also three times more likely to engage in self-harm activities or to contemplate or attempt suicide.
The lead study author Matthew Weaver of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston said that it’s possible that insufficient sleep leads to changes in the brain that make risky behavior more likely.
Reuters quoted him saying, “One possible physiologic mechanism is that insufficient and poor quality sleep is associated with reduced activation of the prefrontal cortex, an area that is critical for executive function and logical reasoning. Regions of the brain that are related to reward processing are also affected, potentially leading to more impulsive and emotionally-driven decisions.”