Alcohol and Sleep Disruptions
According to researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, alcoholics experience disruptive sleep schedules for long periods of time after alcohol abuse stops. Many former alcoholics complain that they can never get a full night of sleep. They wake up frequently and are unable to enter in a REM cycle. The use of alcohol can disrupt cells in the brain stem that regulate sleep. And because the alcohol abusers drink heavy amounts of alcohol for an abnormal length of time, the neurons in the brain that were exposed are constantly over-active which does not allow a person to sleep through the night.
Many studies have already been done on alcohol’s affect on the brain. Last year, a study was published that found that alcohol allows people to sleep better during the first half of the night but causes them to wake up multiple times throughout the second half. An alcoholic’s brain may be used to this pattern and still over-stimulated which is contributing to the disruptive sleep schedules.
More research needs to be done to identify why and how these changes are occurring to the brain. Once more studies are done, researchers will be able to create medication to allow long term alcoholics to sleep through the night.