Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Recovering Alcoholics With Poor Sleep Perceptions Will Likely Relapse

Date:
November 27, 2006
Source:
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Summary:
Alcohol can help people initially fall asleep, but leads to poor-quality sleep later in the night. Escalated consumption of alcohol to aid sleep can lead to alcoholism. Inaccurate sleep perceptions among alcoholics in early recovery may predict relapse to drinking.

Alcohol can initially have sleep-inducing effects among non-alcoholics, but once drinking becomes chronic, alcohol's effects on sleep become much more negative in nature. New findings indicate that individuals in early recovery from alcoholism who have inaccurate sleep perceptions are more likely to return to drinking.

Results are published in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"The usual perception of alcohol's effects on sleep in nonalcoholics is that it helps sleep," explained Deirdre A. Conroy, the corresponding author who conducted the research while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. "In truth, alcohol may help people fall asleep but it usually leads to poor quality sleep in the second half of the night and overall less deep sleep. As people drink more regularly across nights to fall asleep, they become tolerant to the sedating effects of alcohol and subsequently use more alcohol each night to help fall asleep. This escalation in drinking can lead to alcoholism."

Conroy and her colleagues examined 18 individuals with insomnia (9 males, 9 females) who were also in early recovery from alcohol dependence. Each participant underwent polysomnography (PSG) for two nights, three weeks apart. Participants also provided morning estimates of sleep onset latency (SOL) or the time it takes to fall asleep, wake time after sleep onset (WASO), total sleep time (TST), and sleep efficiency (SE), a measure of sleep continuity. After complete PSG results were recorded, participants were asked to give information about their drinking habits during two consecutive six-week follow-up periods.

"Our study suggests that in early recovery from alcoholism, people perceived that it took them a long time to fall asleep and that they slept through the night," said Conroy. "The reality was that it did not take them as long to fall asleep as they thought it did, and their brain was awake for a large portion of the night. On average, the participants that were less accurate about how they were sleeping were more likely to return to drinking."

"In other words," added Timothy A. Roehrs, director of research at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital, as well as professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, "alcoholics perceive their sleep is disturbed and that is the reality. The clinician should pay attention to the alcoholic's sleep complaints as the complaint of poor sleep predicts relapse. Previous studies had shown that PSG findings predict relapse; this study now shows a complaint is sufficient."

Conroy explained that poor sleep quality can lead to mood disturbances. "If a recovering alcoholic is irritable because they are not getting quality sleep at night, they might be more vulnerable to return to drinking," she said. "[Previous] studies show that nonalcoholics with insomnia actually think they are sleeping worse than they are, so they may be more likely to seek appropriate treatment. Our study shows that an alcoholic in early recovery has a lot of wakefulness in the night but they are not necessarily picking up on this. It is important for the clinician working with the alcohol-dependent patient to have a differential of poor sleep quality in the back of their mind as a potential challenge for the patient throughout alcohol recovery."

Conroy and her colleagues will next examine the specifics of sleep problems among alcoholics. "Sleep across recovery from alcoholism may be more complex and variable over time than previously known," she said. "We plan to examine if sleep problems can be attributed to subtle disruptions in brain waves, in irregular biological rhythms, or both. We will also examine if using cognitive behavioral therapy for alcohol-dependent patients with insomnia will reduce the rate of relapse."

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) is the official journal of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism. Co-authors of the ACER paper, "Perception of Sleep in Recovering Alcohol Dependent Patients with Insomnia: Relationship to Future Drinking," were: J. Todd Arnedt, Kirk J. Brower, Stephen Strobbe, Flavia Consens, Robert Hoffmann, and Roseanne Armitage of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. The study was funded by the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Recovering Alcoholics With Poor Sleep Perceptions Will Likely Relapse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061127141315.htm>.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2006, November 27). Recovering Alcoholics With Poor Sleep Perceptions Will Likely Relapse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061127141315.htm
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Recovering Alcoholics With Poor Sleep Perceptions Will Likely Relapse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061127141315.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins