Sleep Disruptions Linked to Chronic Alcohol Use

sleepproblemsDisruptions in sleep cycles can be displayed long after a person stops drinking. According to researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), people with alcohol abuse disorders can suffer from disrupted sleep while they are actively drinking, during withdrawals and even afterward when they abstain from alcohol use.

Subimal Datta, PhD, professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, said that the study indicates chronic alcohol abuse causes long-term negative effects on sleep. “Sleep-wake disturbances can last for months, even years after someone stops drinking,” Datta said.

The BUSM researchers say that chronic alcohol use causes the sleep disturbances because cells in the area of the brain that regulates sleep are affected by prolonged exposure to alcohol. Normal sleep cycles are disrupted due to over-activity of brain chemicals. When exposed to prolonged alcohol use, the chemical that excites brain activity is increased, and at the same time, the chemical that inhibits brain cell activity is decreased, disrupting sleep.

Twenty previously published studies on alcohol and sleep were reviewed by the BUSM researchers. They found that alcohol reduces the time to fall asleep, and may have attributed to them sleeping more soundly through the first part of the night. However, they also found that sleep disruptions increased during the second half of the night. They also found that those who had two or more drinks had a decrease in REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement and is generally the period of sleep where most dreams occur.

The CDC has labeled lack of sleep as a public health epidemic, as it can have many negative factors on a person’s life. Gulf Breeze Recovery recognizes that there is a physical component necessary to fully recovering from substance abuse. A healthy diet, exercise and other practices can help restore better sleep patterns so that guests feel more rested.

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