UCSD LogoSome studies have apparently exhibited that behaviors like happiness, obesity, smoking and altruism seems to be infectious in adult social networks. In other words, one’s behavior may not only affect their friends but also their friends and so on.

Study authors at the University of California, San Diego and Harvard University have apparently taken this a step farther and discovered that the transmission of one behavior in social networks like poor sleep patterns could impact the spread of another behavior such as adolescent drug use.

By means of social network data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, study authors charted out the social networks of roughly 8,349 adolescents in grades 7 till 12. They apparently discovered sets of poor sleep behavior and marijuana use that appears to have expanded up to four degrees of separation to one’s friends’ friends’ friends’ friends in the social network.

“This is our first investigation of the spread of illegal drug use in social networks. We believe it is also the first study in any age population on the spread of sleep behaviors through social networks,” commented, lead author, Sara C. Mednick, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Another fresh network effect that they seem to have found was that teens that are at the center of the network could be at a larger threat of poor sleep, which in turn may denote that they have more chances to use marijuana. This apparently places them at the crossroads of two behaviors and augments a teenager’s susceptibility.

Mednick remarked, “Our behaviors are connected to each other and we need to start thinking about how one behavior affects our lives on many levels. Therefore, when parents, schools and law enforcement want to look for ways to influence one outcome, such as drug use, our research suggests that targeting another behavior, like sleep, may have a positive influence. They should be promoting healthy sleep habits that eliminate behaviors which interfere with sleep: take the TV out of the child’s bedroom, limit computer and phone usage to daytime and early evening hours, and promote napping.”

As opposed to the common hypothesis that drug use could have a negative effect on sleep, the study authors supposedly discovered that sleep loss could also have odds to impel adolescents to use drugs. It was seemingly observed that the less they sleep; more often than not their friends may also sleep poorly and use marijuana.

The study was published in PLos One.