Current alcohol use is associated with sleep patterns in first-year college students

Eliza Van Reen, Brandy M. Roane, David H. Barker, John E. McGeary, Brian Borsari, Mary A. Carskadon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: To examine whether differences exist in self-reported sleep patterns and self-reported alcohol use for first-semester college students who do or do not report drinking during the last 6 months (mo) of high school. Methods: Participants were 878 first-year college students. Students completed a survey in late May/early June about alcohol use and consequences, during the last 6 mo of high school; they later completed a daily record of sleep behavior and alcohol use across the first 9 weeks of the first semester of college. High school drinking status (past 6 mo) was classified as positive (HS-6 mo+) or negative (HS-6mo-) based on any indication of drinking on the May/June survey. Collegiate drinking was determined from first-semester daily diary alcohol reports as non-drinkers (0 reported drinks), drinkers (one or fewer heavy episodic drinking episodes (HED)), and drinkers reporting more than one HED episode. Sleep patterns were compared for non-drinkers, drinkers, and HED with no high school drinking history (HS-6mo-/HED). In addition, a separate analysis compared sleep patterns for college HED with (HS-6mo+/HED) and without (HS-6mo-/HED) high school self-reported alcohol use. Results: Increased alcohol consumption in the first semester of college was associated with later bedtimes and rise times. We found no association of high school alcohol use and sleep in those with collegiate HED. Conclusions: Later sleep timing in those with greater alcohol use, supports a connection between sleep patterns and alcohol use. Such an early appearance of this connection may herald the development of alcohol use disorder in some individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1326
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Alcohol
  • College
  • First semester
  • Sleep


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