Behaviors Influence Sleep

JULY 01, 2005

A study reported in Sleep (May 1, 2005) showed that individuals with insomnia tend to worsen or prolong their sleep problem with alcohol, smoking, and sleeping late in the morning. For the study, the researchers conducted 3283 phone interviews in the Detroit tri-county area. Of the respondents, 258 individuals with insomnia were matched by age and sex with 258 normal sleepers.

The compiled data showed that people with insomnia drink alcohol within 30 minutes of bedtime more often, compared with the controls, and 29% consume alcohol as a means to achieve sleep. As for the participants with insomnia who smoke on a regular basis, 45.3% smoke 5 minutes before going to bed. The study also showed that the participants with insomnia report "sleeping in"on days they do not work, with 42.7% following this model.

The researchers noted that the current study does not indicate the extent to which these behaviors factor into primary sleep disturbance, or whether they result from attempts to deal with a sleep problem. The investigators recommended further research to determine whether behavioral therapy that changes these targeted behaviors improves sleep for individuals with insomnia.