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College students who start their classes later in the day are more likely to drink more alcohol and binge drink, compared with students who get an earlier start, a new study has found.

The researchers studied 253 college students, who were asked to perform cognitive tasks and to keep a sleep diary for a week. They were asked about class schedules, sleep, substance use and mood. Students with later class start times stayed up later, drank more alcohol and engaged in more binge drinking, HealthDay reports. They also earned lower grades.

The findings were presented at SLEEP 2011, the Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting in Minneapolis.

“Later class start times predicted more drinking, more sleep time and modestly lower grades, overall,” co-lead author Pamela Thacher, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, said in a news release. “Later class start times seemed to change the choices students make: They sleep longer, and they drink more.”

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