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People With Severe Insomnia Less Likely To Experience Alcohol-Induced Blackouts

Don’t get it wrong, insomnia doesn’t prevent alcohol-related consequences.

Having Trouble sleeping after drinking too much alcohol? It's actual good for you. You're are less likely to suffer alcohol-induced blackouts.

What would happen if you don't get enough sleep after heavy alcohol consumption? You might be thinking, it would worsen alcohol-related consequences, such as alcohol-induced blackouts. No, it's the opposite of what we have expected.

According to a new study, heavy drinkers who experience symptoms of insomnia are less likely to suffer alcohol-induced blackouts. A common sleep disorder, insomnia causes difficulty falling and staying asleep.

The study led by a researcher at the University of Missouri School of Medicine was published in the journal Addictive Behaviours.

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Alcohol and memory loss

Temporary anterograde amnesia, also known as alcohol-induced blackouts, refers to the loss of ability to create new memories which occurs when a person is intoxicated.

Since sleep disorders are known to impair memory and cognitive functioning, the researchers thought that people with severe insomnia and high rates of alcohol use would also experience greater alcohol-induced blackouts. But they found just the opposite.

The study included 461 college students who were aged 18 years and above and had reported heavy drinking in the past 30 days. Heavy drinking here was defined as five or more drinks on a single occasion or 14 or more drinks a week for men, and for women more than four on a single occasion and seven drinks a week. To their surprise, participants with lower severity of insomnia reported experiencing higher rates of blackout frequency than those with higher severity of insomnia.

Here's the explanation they gave: Insomnia causes circadian misalignment which alters the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from the body.

However, they noted that more work is needed to understand this theory, which contradicts the established literature.

Don't get it wrong, heavy drinking is not good for anyone

Angelo M. DiBello, an assistant professor at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies and a co-author of the study, pointed out that their study doesn't suggests that heavy drinking is OK for people with severe insomnia, or they are free from alcohol-related consequences.

What they are saying is that the effects of alcohol consumption are stronger for those who are low in insomnia. People who are high in insomnia will still experience higher blackout frequency if they drink heavily, compared to those who drink less.

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