Alcohol and the risk of sleep apnoea: a systematic review and meta-analysis

May 26, 2021 | By More

If you suffer from sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you would be wise to avoid alcohol. Never use alcohol as a nightcap and never mix sleeping pills with alcohol. His bouts with sleep apnea seemed to worsen when he was drinking.

If these measures don’t improve your symptoms or if your apnea is moderate to severe, a number of other treatments are available. Drinking alcohol eco sober house review may mean you’re dealing with even more severe symptoms than normal. A natural consequence of that is that your symptoms might get worse.

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine inked increased alcohol consumption to an increased risk of mild or worse sleep disordered breathing. Many people suffering from insomnia will take a drink before bedtime to help them fall asleep. After an initial stimulating effect, alcohol’s sedating effects can reduce the time required to fall asleep. Alcohol use actually exacerbates your risk for sleep apnea symptoms and makes it harder for your body to breathe while sleeping. Alcohol can actually relax the muscles in your throat making it more likely for your airway to collapse causing an obstruction while you are trying to sleep at night. This disorder, which includes high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar and an increased waist circumference, is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

Some studies have also reported smoking addiction due to untreated OSA . This variability in results suggests an inconclusive consensus about the role of smoking in OSA progression and severity; thus, further studies are required to elucidate the relevant mechanisms involved. Zenda T., Hamazaki K., Oka R. Endoscopic assessment of reflux esophagitis concurrent with hiatal hernia in male Japanese patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Yaggi H.K., Concato J., Kernan W.N. Obstructive sleep apnea as a risk factor for stroke and death. Franklin K.A., Lindberg E. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder in the population—a review on the epidemiology of sleep apnea.

alcohol sleep apnea

Your health care provider may make an evaluation based on your symptoms and a sleep history, which you can provide with help from someone who shares your bed or your household, if possible. Obstructive sleep apnea is also a concern with certain medicines and general anesthesia. People with sleep apnea might be more likely to have complications after major surgery because they’re prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs. Having congestive heart failure increases the risk.

Can You Die From Sleep Apnea?

If you do have an alcohol dependency, you should take the crucial step of seeking professional medical help to safely treat your AUD. Trying to quit cold turkey on your own can lead to withdrawals, which can cause new health risks, such asexperiencing an REM sleep behavior disorder. As you address your alcohol dependency under medical supervision, better-quality sleep is only one of the valuable benefits you’ll experience. As we’ve seen, the effects of alcohol on sleep are significant. If you’re regularly feeling under-rested, heavy drinking may be to blame.

  • This is particularly important as sleep hygiene was reported to be indirectly related to daytime sleepiness and depressive symptoms .
  • The increase in the severity of your symptoms makes the drops in your blood’s oxygen levels, called desaturations, become more severe.
  • This can make it hard to get normal, healthy sleep.
  • Loud snoring can indicate a potentially serious problem, but not everyone who has sleep apnea snores.
  • You may need this form of surgery if other treatments have failed and you have severe, life-threatening sleep apnea.

Ask if you’ve traveled recently to altitudes higher than 6,000 feet. These locations have low oxygen, which could cause symptoms of sleep apnea for a few weeks after traveling. As they continue to drink, their sleep patterns soon become disrupted again.

It Has a Rebound Effect in the Second Half of the Night

He’d awaken more frequently, frightening me with his gasping for breath. He’d get up, disoriented, not knowing where he was or who I was. I dreaded those nights and often took the kids and stayed at a hotel or with a friend. After the withdrawal symptoms subside, people with an alcohol use disorder can experience some improvement in sleep patterns, but for some, normal sleep patterns may never return, even after years of sobriety.

This does not only pose a concern for patients with OSA, but also for the healthcare system by further increasing the economic burden of diabetes . Research also indicates that drinking alcohol makes a person more likely to experience a sleep-related eating disorder. The primary characteristic of these disorders is episodes of binge eating during the night. During these episodes, people tend to choose high-carb foods and foods that aren’t safe for human consumption, including raw meat. Whereas people with a nocturnal eating disorder are aware of their eating, people with a sleep-related eating disorder are not in control of their actions and won’t remember what took place the next morning.

alcohol sleep apnea

Lastly, therapies for a low arousal threshold include hypnotic agents, such as eszopiclone, zopiclone, and trazodone . Without increasing the risk of hypoxemia, these agents can increase the threshold for arousal and reduce the AHI in patients with OSA by approximately 25% to 50% . Breathing problems —Since alcohol’s sedative effect extends to your entire body, including your muscles, it may allow your airway to close more easily while you’re asleep. This can greatly increase the risk ofsleep apneaespecially if you drink within the last couple of hours before bedtime.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

However, rapid eye movement sleep is also a vital part of the sleep cycle, since it aids in mental restoration. However, the reality is that alcohol has more of an adverse effect on sleep than a positive one. If you’re drinking before bed to help with sleep, you should choose a different relaxation method that will help you achieve better-quality sleep.

alcohol sleep apnea

Also, it is recommended that you stop drinking at least two hours before you plan to sleep, and try sleeping on your side. If you are living with OSA, you have either felt by now or have heard that alcohol and sleep apnea do not mix well. Drinking alcohol can actually increase apneic events and their duration, therefore worsening your sleep apnea symptoms. Consuming alcohol may exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea and increase the severity of its symptoms.

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Teeth Grinding

Loop-gain therapies include oxygen supplementation and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. Supplemental oxygen tends to reduce loop-gain and lowers the AHI in selected patients. The mechanism behind this variability for oxygen therapy is unclear at present. Acetazolamide and zonisamide are two carbonic anhydrase inhibitors that have shown promising results by decreasing loop-gains by approximately 40%, while also reducing AHI by half .

Figure 2.A model for widely recognized risk factors of sleep apnea. Zhou, X.; Zhou, B.; Li, Z.; Lu, Q.; Li, S.; Pu, Z.; Luo, F. Gender differences of clinical and polysomnographic findings with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Laratta, C.R.; Ayas, N.T.; Povitz, M.; Pendharkar, S.R. Diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Another way alcohol can disrupt your sleep is by causing you to make trips to the bathroom to urinate.

They appear similar to a large pacifier with a space for the tongue and a defined mandibular protrusion . Similar side effects are also reported for this device. While these devices have shown to be effective, similar to CPAP, the success of this alternative option also relies on patient compliance. The compliance rate pertaining to these devices is anywhere between 30–60%, which is arguably not ideal . Most people in these studies cited discomfort, dry mouth, hypersalivation, and other side effects mentioned above to not use it regularly.

Alcohol and the risk of sleep apnoea: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Alcohol often does reduce sleep onset latency—the time it takes to fall asleep. Depending on how much alcohol is consumed, however, what seems like falling asleep may be something closer to passing out. And we quickly build a tolerance for the sedative effects of alcohol, which means you may need to drink more to have the same initial sleep-inducing effects. Inflammation plays an integral role in the induction, progression, and exacerbation of OSA. These mediators can play an important role as a biomarker to decipher the severity of OSA among patients.

They may ask you to lose weight, stop smoking, or treat nasal allergies . Based on the number of sleep apnea events you had in an hour of the sleep test, your doctor can diagnose you with mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea. People with mild sleep apnea have 5-14 apnea events in an hour, those with a moderate case have in an hour, and doctors diagnose people with 30 or more apnea events in an hour with severe sleep apnea.

It also raises risks of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease . People with alcohol use disorders commonly experience insomnia symptoms. Studies have shown that alcohol use can exacerbate the symptoms of sleep apnea.

The device allows me to see my O2 drops on my phone which I like. I recently went on an 8 day vacation anf drank one drink per day. Hi Rich, thank you for letting us know about this error. You are correct, Sleep Apnea is a disorder, not a disease. Still enjoy a fun night out while not compromising sleep.

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