Introduction: The proportion of university/college students (UCS) consuming alcohol is similar to the number of those reporting poor sleep, at approximately 30%, the proportion being greater in student athletes (SA). What remains to be understood is if poor sleep potentiates risky behaviors. Objective: Our aim was to examine the association among sleep difficulties, insomnia symptoms, and insufficient sleep on the risk of driving under the influence of alcohol in a sample of UCS and whether these associations were more pertinent in SA. Methods: Data from the National University/College Health Assessment was used from the years 2011–2014. Questions on number of drinks consumed and behaviors such as driving after drinking alcohol were related to answers to questions pertaining to sleep difficulties, insufficient sleep, and insomnia symptoms. Results: Mean alcohol intake was of about 3 drinks; SA consumed significantly more than student non-athletes (SNA). Binge-drinking episodes were significantly higher among SA than SNA. Difficulty sleeping was associated with an increased likelihood of driving after any drinks and after 5 or more drinks in both groups, effects being stronger among SA. Insomnia was associated with an increased likelihood of driving after any drinks and after 5 or more drinks in SA and after 5 or more drinks in SNA. These effects were stronger among athletes. Conclusion: The present study found that self-reported difficulties sleeping, insomnia symptoms, and insufficient sleep are associated with driving after drinking alcohol. This relationship applied to driving after drinking any alcohol or binge drinking and was again stronger among SA than SNA.
- Driving after drinking alcohol
- Insufficient sleep
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