Individuals with longstanding histories of alcohol abuse sometimes appear to be less intoxicated than they really are because of their acquired ability to tolerate higher concentrations of ethanol due to their chronic and repeated exposure. It is a myth that drinking alcohol aids sleep; alcohol is actually associated with decrease in rapid eye movement sleep and a disruption of normal sleep architecture. There is a decrease in deep sleep and an increase in sleep fragmentation which includes more or longer episodes of awakening(Keltner,et al., 1998). Because small amounts of alcohol may have transient sedative effects at night, poor sleep may be associated with relapse into active alcoholism in previously abstinent patients with alcoholism. The conclusion in this study was that alcoholic relapse within 3 month after discharge from a one month inpatient alcohol treatment program may be predicted on admission by short REM density in patients with uncomplicated alcoholism. This study suggests that evaluation of self-medication from the resulting sleep disturbance of addiction may be a significant factor in relapse (Vaillant 1996).
Dr Mark Nelson is Chairman and Co-Founder of the Caledonia Investments Group, and a Director of The Caledonia Foundation. He is Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Deputy Chairman of Art Exhibitions Australia, a Director of Kaldor Public Art Projects and serves as a Governor of the Florey Neurosciences Institute. Previously Mark was a Director of The Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and Medicine, and served on the Commercialisation Committee of the Florey Institute. Mark was educated at the University of Melbourne and University of Cambridge (UK).