Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Excessive Alcohol Can Cause Insomnia

Excess alcohol or alcohol used to promote sleep, however, tends to fragment sleep and cause wakefulness a few hours later. It also increases the risk for other sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and restless legs. Alcoholics often suffer insomnia during withdrawal and, in some cases, for several years during recovery. A number of studies have reported that shift work throws off the body's circadian rhythm and have suggested that such changes could lead to chronic insomnia. One study found that 53% of night shift workers fall asleep on the job at least once a week, implying that their internal clocks do not adjust to unusual work times.

They are also at much higher risk than other workers for automobile accidents due to their drowsiness and may also have a higher risk for health problems in general. A Japanese study reporting on different aspects of insomnia found that excessive computer work was associated with all forms of insomnia. People who were over involved with their work tended to have trouble falling asleep and they tended to awaken earlier than average.

Persistently high levels of stress hormones, particularly cortisol, may be key factors in many cases of chronic insomnia, particularly insomnia related to aging and psychiatric disorders. High levels of cortisol reduce REM sleep. Abnormal levels of other biologic factors may also a play a role in specific situations. An imbalance in specific hormones important in sleep has been associated with aging and may be partly responsible for the higher incidence of insomnia in older people.

Older people experience higher levels of major stress hormones (cortisol and adrenocorticotropin) during the night. Why? Normal aging is associated with a blunting of regular, cyclical surges of growth hormone. This hormone, which is normally secreted in the late night, is associated not only with growth but with deep, slow wave sleep. Older people generally have less slow wave sleep. Melatonin levels, the hormone secreted by the pineal gland are lower, in older people.

Some research suggests that elderly people may have lower levels in general simply because many stay mostly indoors and out of normal sunlight. In spite of such observations a number of studies report no higher risk for insomnia in older adults who have no accompanying mental or physical problems. There may also be a genetic link to insomnia. Sleep problems seem to run in families approximately 35% of people with insomnia have a positive family history, with the mother being the most commonly affected family member. Still, because so many factors are involved in insomnia, a genetic component is difficult to define.


Anonymous said...

If you are suffering from sleep problems such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, you need to consider this problem seriously and adopt specific measures at the earliest to get back your sleep. Regular exercising is one of the options to ensure sound sleep at night. Altogether, if you are unable to get adequate sleep during night, you can undertake certain initiatives to overcome your sleep problems such as fixing your sleeping as well as waking schedule and abstaining from alcohol, nicotine, tea, coffee et al before hitting the bed.