Alcohol Intoxication Increases Sleep Disruption in Women

Alcohol linked to sleepiness and sleep disruptions, regardless of family history of alcoholism

FRIDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol intoxication elevates subjective sleepiness and disrupts sleep objectively in women more than in men, regardless of family history of alcoholism, according to a study published online Feb. 15 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

J. Todd Arnedt, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied 93 healthy young adults to evaluate sex and family history of alcoholism as moderators of subjective ratings of sleepiness/sleep quality following alcohol intoxication. Participants included 59 women, and 29 subjects with a family history of alcoholism. Participants consumed alcohol to intoxication, or matching placebo, then had their sleep monitored using polysomnography. Sleep ratings were completed at bedtime and on awakening.

The researchers found that, after alcohol, women experience more disrupted total sleep time, sleep efficiency, nighttime awakenings, and wake after sleep onset, regardless of family history. Compared to the placebo, alcohol reduced sleep onset latency, sleep efficiency, and rapid eye movement sleep, and increased wakefulness and slow wave sleep during the entire night. After alcohol, sleepiness ratings were elevated, especially for women at bedtime, and morning sleep-quality ratings were reduced.

"Sleep disturbances were more evident in women than in men at an equally high peak breath alcohol concentration, but subjective ratings did not differ between sexes and only partially reflected the increased sleep disruption induced by alcohol. Sleep among those with a family history of alcoholism did not differ from family-history-negative subjects following alcohol consumption," the authors write.

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