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Sleep problems in early childhood may predict substance use during adolescence

ging their children to engage in relaxing activities right before bed time."

Wong is hopeful that, if sleep problems can be identified early on and treated, then early onset of alcohol and other drug use may be prevented. She and her coauthors plan to add to this study's subjective ratings by collecting objective sleep data through use of an actigraph, which looks like an electronic wrist watch and records day-to-day activities, amount of movement during sleep, and sleep duration, as well as polysomnography, the study of brain waves during sleep in the laboratory.

Roehrs agreed that it is very important to confirm the existence of sleep disturbances in these children with standard laboratory assessments. "The next step should be to begin to determine the nature of that disturbance," he said. "Does the sleep disturbance indicate that there is a pathophysiology of the sleep or circadian systems? Importantly, will treatment of the sleep problem reduce the risks?"


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14-Apr-2004


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