Effects of alcohol on sleep parameters of sleep-deprived healthy volunteers

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Lobo, Leticia L. [UNIFESP]
Tufik, Sergio [UNIFESP]
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Both partial and total sleep deprivation frequently result in a rebound of paradoxical sleep (PS), as well as of slow-wave or delta sleep. Acute administration of ethanol inhibits PS in normal volunteers. This effect is dose-dependent and consists of increased latency to and reduced duration of paradoxical sleep. It has also been shown that PS rebound may occur on the same night, as blood alcohol concentration (BAC) declines. The present study examined the effects of sleep deprivation prior to ethanol administration on nocturnal-sleep parameters in healthy male volunteers. Polysomnograms were performed with a randomized, crossover design on baseline, placebo, post-placebo, ethanol (0.9 g/kg), and post-ethanol recovery nights. Subjects were submitted to partial (PSD) (n = 6) or total (TSD) (n = 6) sleep deprivation for 40 hours before placebo or ethanol conditions. Results evidenced a PS inhibition after ethanol treatment in both deprivation groups, despite their sleep debt (PSD, placebo = 103.7 minutes and ethanol = 72.7 minutes; TSD, placebo = 111.8 minutes and ethanol = 76.6 minutes). This inhibition was BAC-dependent and specific to PS, since delta sleep remained unaltered. These effects could be due to the reduction of cholinergic release and/or glutamatergic inhibition, both of which modulate acetylcholine release.
Sleep. Rochester: Amer Sleep Disorders Assoc, v. 20, n. 1, p. 52-59, 1997.