Alcoholism and Sleep

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alcoholism may affect a persons sleep long-term. Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study that looked at alcoholism and sleep patterns in the 60 Second Housecall.

Alcoholics have differences in their sleep when compared with other people, even if they quit drinking,

Researchers studied 42 alcoholics who had quit drinking and 42 people with no history of alcoholism. The alcoholics had been sober for anywhere from 30 days to more than two years.

All participants spent a night at a sleep lab, hooked up to monitors that showed brain activity.

Compared with people with no history of alcoholism, the alcoholics had less slow-wave sleep and spent more of their sleep time in the early stage of sleep and in REM sleep. The patterns were the same for male and female alcoholics.

Increased REM sleep might be expected in people who had recently quit drinking to make up for the reduction that heavy drinking takes on REM sleep, suggesting that alcoholism might have a lasting effect on sleep.

While the study doesnt prove that alcoholism caused differences in sleep patterns, sleep difficulties are common in those suffering from alcohol abuse.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.