Binge Drinking Older
People Appear Much More Likely to Suffer Insomnia
Reported to be first study to examine binge drinking and its
association with insomnia in older adults
June 10, 2013 – If you are a frequent binge
drinker, insomnia may not be the worst of your problems but a new study
finds that for older people there appears to be a clear link between the
two. The researchers found adults ages 55 and older who binged on an
average of more than two days a week had an 84 percent greater odds of
reporting an insomnia symptom compared to non-binge drinkers.
According to the authors, this is the first study
to their knowledge that examines binge drinking (four or more drinks) and its association with
insomnia symptoms in older adults.
Results show that overall, 26.2 percent of
participants had two or less binge drinking days per week, on average,
and 3.1 percent had more than two days per week, on average. Adjustment
for demographic variables, medical conditions, and elevated depressive
symptoms were made for participants.
“It was somewhat surprising that frequent binge
drinking (more than 2 binge drinking days per week, on average), but not
occasional binge drinking (more than zero, but less than 2 binge
drinking days per week, on average) had a significant association with
self-reported insomnia symptoms,” said lead author Sarah Canham, PhD,
postdoctoral fellow in Drug Dependence Epidemiology, John Hopkins
University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental
Health in Baltimore, Md.
The research abstract was published recently in an
online supplement of the journal SLEEP, and Canham presented the
findings Monday, June 3, in Baltimore, Md., at SLEEP 2013, the 27th
annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.
The study involved 4,970 community-dwelling people
ages 55 plus from the 2004 wave of the Health and Retirement Study who
reported having ever consumed alcohol, and who had completed all binge
drinking and insomnia-related questions.
Participants reported the number of days on which
they had “four or more drinks on one occasion” in the prior three
months. Responses were used to calculate the mean number of binge
drinking days per week, which was the primary predictor. Participants
also reported the frequency of difficulty falling asleep, trouble
staying asleep, waking too early or feeling unrested in the morning.
Those reporting any of these “most of the time” were considered to have
an insomnia symptom, which served as the outcome.
“Clinicians and health care providers should be
aware of and discuss the use of alcohol with their older patients,
particularly those who report poor sleep,” said Canham.
“Binge drinking behaviors may be an appropriate
target for improving poor sleep.”
A joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep
Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the annual SLEEP meeting brings
together an international body of more than 5,500 leading clinicians and
scientists in the fields of sleep medicine and sleep research.
more than 1,300 research abstract presentations showcased new findings
that contribute to the understanding of sleep and the effective
diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy
and sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers
sleep disorders an illness that has reached epidemic proportions.
Board-certified sleep medicine physicians in an AASM-accredited sleep
center provide effective treatment. AASM encourages patients to talk to
their doctors about sleep problems or visit
www.sleepeducation.com for a searchable directory of sleep
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