Study: Sleepy teens more likely to commit crimes as adults

Did you often doze off during class in high school? If you answered "yes," your old sleeping habits could be a sign that you're likely to commit crimes as an adult, according to a recent study.

Researchers found that teenagers who reported being sleepy in the afternoon tend to be more antisocial, exhibiting behaviors such as lying, cheating, stealing and fighting. Further, those same adolescents were 4.5 times more likely to commit violent crimes by age 29.

To make these conclusions, scientists examined 101 15-year-old boys from England and their level of sleepiness, conduct and attention abilities. About 17 percent of the males evaluated committed and were convicted ofviolent crimes later in life.

One of the researchers, Adrian Raine, had actually gathered the information 39 years ago for his Ph.D dissertation but never analyzed it. While working on other projects in recent months, he began to notice patterns that were similar to his university studies. So he decided to dig up the boys’ criminal histories to see how sleepiness correlated with behavioral issues.

"Is it the case that low social class and early social adversity results in daytime drowsiness, which results in inattention or brain dysfunction, which results 14 years later in crime? The answer's yes," he told Science Daily. "There is a significant link."

So is there a way to combat the issue? Raine suggests the solution is simple: find a way to get more sleep, though the researchers stressed that drowsiness does not always cause a boy to exhibit anti-social behavior.