How does alcohol consumption affect sleep behavior?
Many adult people drink alcohol regularly, some even several times a month until they get intoxicated. Previous studies had previously shown that alcohol intoxication was associated with sleep disorders. Researchers have now found that a single high intoxication affects a gene that regulates sleep, which in turn can lead to sleep disorders.
In their current study, the scientists from the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that a single high intoxication caused by alcohol affects a gene that regulates sleep. The result is increased sleep disorders.
Can sleep problems trigger alcoholism?
In the study, the experts observed that a single intoxication caused by alcohol can cause sleep disorders in mice. This is due to the effect of alcohol on a special gene that affects sleep. The finding could shed light on how alcoholism can contribute to sleep problems in humans, the researchers say.
Alcoholics often have trouble sleeping
"Sleep is a serious problem for alcoholics," explains study author Professor Dr. Mahesh Thakkar from the University of Missouri. If people drink a lot of alcohol, they will suffer from sleep disorders and sleep deprivation the following day. Alcoholics then have to drink alcohol again in order to go to sleep. This is a dangerous cycle, the expert adds. Is it possible to prevent this vicious cycle before it even begins? To better understand this problem, the scientists tried to decipher the mechanisms involved more precisely.
What did alcohol consumption do?
Using a mouse model, the researchers observed the effects of so-called coma drinking on the sleep pattern. When mice consumed large amounts of alcohol, they experienced a significant increase in non-rapid eye movement during sleep four hours after alcohol intoxication, followed by increased alertness and decreased sleep during subsequent sleep periods, the scientists explain.
Just four drinks a day can change the genes
"In our research, we were able to show that a certain gene, which is very important for sleep homeostasis, is strongly influenced by alcohol," explains study author Professor Dr. Thakkar. The experts had not expected such a result. "We thought that the gene would be affected after several sessions of binge drinking, but not after just one session," added the scientist in a press release. This means that consuming just four drinks can change the genes. (as)