Alcohol caused sleep disruption affects women more: Study
Washington: Alcohol is known for its rebound effects. Now, a new study has claimed that the effects are more prominent among healthy women than in men.
Scientists have already found that intoxication helps one fall asleep quickly but then it disrupts sleep during the latter part of the night, a condition called rebound effects.
Now, researchers at the University of Michigan who studied the influence of gender and family history of alcoholism on sleep found that the rebound effect is more prominent among healthy women than men.
The findings, to be published in May in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, may lead to more studies examining the relationship between sleep quality and risk for the development of alcohol use disorders, said the researchers.
"It`s clear that a substantial portion of the population uses alcohol on a regular basis to help with sleep problems," said study author J Todd Arnedt at the University of Michigan.
"This perception may relate to the fact that alcohol helps people fall asleep quickly and they may be less aware of the disruptive effects of alcohol on sleep later in the night."
Arnedt said that his group decided to examine gender differences in the effects of alcohol on sleep because very few studies on the subject have included female participants and, since women metabolize alcohol differently than men, it seemed reasonable to expect differences by gender.
For their study, Arnedt and his team recruited 93 healthy adults (59 women, 34 men) aged over 20 years. Of them, 29 had a positive family history of alcoholism.
Between 8:30 and 10:00 pm, participants were given to drink either alcohol or a placebo beverage to the point of intoxication as determined by breath alcohol concentration (BrAC).
Their sleep was then monitored with polysomnography between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am. Participants also completed questionnaires at bedtime and upon awakening.
"Alcohol increased self-reported sleepiness and disrupted sleep quality more in women than men," said Arnedt. "Sleep quality following alcohol did not differ between family-history positive and family-history negative subjects. Morning ratings of sleep quality were worse following alcohol than placebo," he said.
The findings also confirmed that a high dose of alcohol solidifies sleep in the first half of the night, meaning more deep sleep, but disrupts it in the second part of the night, meaning more wakefulness, he added.
It was also found that women objectively had fewer hours of sleep, woke more frequently and for more minutes during the night, and had more disrupted sleep than men.
"These differences may be related to differences in alcohol metabolism," explained Arnedt, "since women show a more rapid decline in BrAC following alcohol consumption than men.
"These findings may have implications for future studies examining the relationship between sleep quality and risk for the development of alcohol use disorders, as well as studies evaluating how sleep quality relates to relapse among recovering alcoholic individuals," he said.