12 Aug Alcohol and Nicotine Before Bedtime Can Impair Healthy Sleep
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christine Spadola, M.S., LMHC, Ph.D.
Florida Atlantic University
Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work
Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Short sleep duration and sleep fragmentation are associated with adverse health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, and mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety. Avoiding the use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine close to bedtime represent modifiable behaviors that can improve sleep. Nonetheless, among community dwelling adults (e.g., adults in their natural bedroom environment as opposed to research laboratories) and specifically African Americans, there is a lack of longitudinal research investigating the use of these substances and the associations with objective measures of sleep..
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response In one of the largest longitudinal investigations to date, we found that among an African-American cohort, alcohol and nicotine consumption within four hours of bedtime is associated with higher sleep fragmentation (nicotine) and lower sleep efficiency (nicotine and alcohol) even after controlling for variables that commonly affect sleep (i.e., age, gender, BMI, education, work/school the following day, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our findings highlight the importance of eliminating evening alcohol and nicotine use for optimal sleep. Moreover, among individuals with insomnia, evening use of nicotine was associated with a 42 minute reduction in sleep duration. This suggests that among individuals presenting with sleep complaints, nicotine cessation could be a plausible first step to improve sleep.
We did not find a significant impact on sleep parameters among individuals who self-reported caffeine use within 4 hours of bedtime; however we were not able to measure the amount of caffeine consumed and participants’ sensitivity and caffeine tolerance levels. Individual tolerance and sensitivity to caffeine can be important factors in the impact caffeine can have on sleep. Thus, as a general caution individuals should still limit caffeine after 12 noon.
Christine E Spadola, Na Guo, Dayna A Johnson, Tamar Sofer, Suzanne M Bertisch, Chandra L Jackson, Michael Rueschman, Murray A Mittleman, James G Wilson, Susan Redline. Evening intake of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine: night-to-night associations with sleep duration and continuity among African Americans in the Jackson Heart Sleep Study. Sleep, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/sleep/zsz136
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