Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alcoholism's Effect On Sleep Persists During Long Periods Of Sobriety

Date:
October 1, 2009
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
A new study shows that long-term alcoholism affects sleep even after long periods of abstinence, and the pattern of this effect is similar in both men and women.

A study in the Oct.1 issue of the journal Sleep shows that long-term alcoholism affects sleep even after long periods of abstinence, and the pattern of this effect is similar in both men and women.

Results indicate that in long-term alcoholics who had not had a drink for up to 719 days, the percentage of slow wave sleep was significantly lower (6.6% in men, 11.1% in women) than in controls (12.0% in men, 12.1% in women). Alcoholics also had significantly more stage 1 non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep (8.5% in men, 6.3% in women) than controls (6.2% in men, 5.6% in women). According to the authors, having less deep, slow wave sleep and more light, stage 1 sleep is reflective of poorer sleep quality, which could act as an exacerbating factor in alcoholics' cognitive decline.

Although women had better sleep efficiency and fewer wake periods than men, no significant interactions between sex and alcoholism diagnosis were found for any measures. This suggests that women show the same general pattern of alcoholism-related sleep changes as men.

Principal investigator Ian Colrain, PhD, director of the SRI International Human Sleep Research Program and a professional fellow in psychology at the University of Melbourne in Australia, also was surprised to find that a significant increase in the percentage of REM sleep persisted in alcoholics who had abstained from drinking for an extended period.

"Previously the REM changes in the acute detox period were assumed to be related to a rebound of the REM suppression effects of alcohol," said Colrain. "The persistence indicates that there is some possibly permanent structural/functional change in REM regulation mechanisms produced by long-term alcohol abuse."

The study involved 42 alcoholics (mean age 49 years, 27 men) who were recruited from an inpatient treatment program and 42 controls (mean age 51 years, 19 men). Estimated lifetime alcohol consumption was significantly higher in male alcoholics (1,607.2 kg) than female alcoholics (843.7 kg). All participants were screened for medical, psychiatric and sleep problems, and their sleep was measured by a full night of polysomnography following an adaptation night. Data were collected from multiple scalp sights and subjected to power spectral analysis. Sleep architecture and electroencephalogram (EEG) spectral power measures were evaluated for the effects of alcoholism diagnosis and sex using age as a covariate.

Results also show that perceived sleep as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was significantly worse in alcoholics than in controls. Estimated lifetime alcohol consumption was significantly related to the scores on the PSQI in men and women, with higher lifetime consumption predicting less sleep satisfaction. Spectral analysis revealed that alcoholics had significantly reduced levels of slow wave activity during NREM sleep but not during REM sleep, showing that the reduction in slow wave activity in alcoholism is sleep-state specific.

Colrain said that there is a substantial body of literature describing the functional correlates of the structural damage produced by long-term alcohol abuse. Many aspects of psychological functioning are affected by damage to the frontal cortex, including those that relate to judgment and risk taking. He added that there is a growing appreciation for the role of slow wave sleep in supporting memory and other mental functions.

This study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Impact of Alcoholism on Sleep Architecture and EEG Power Spectra in Men and Women. Sleep, Oct.1, 2009

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Alcoholism's Effect On Sleep Persists During Long Periods Of Sobriety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001081204.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2009, October 1). Alcoholism's Effect On Sleep Persists During Long Periods Of Sobriety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001081204.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Alcoholism's Effect On Sleep Persists During Long Periods Of Sobriety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001081204.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. 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