Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is drinking bad for your sleep apnea?

There is a long list of things that you shouldn’t do if you have sleep apnea. Taking sleeping pills is right up there at the top of the list. They relax the muscles in the back of the throat causing even more airway blockage. Pain medication can also be a problem if your doctor doesn’t know that you have sleep apnea, which is another good reason for having a sleep study. And of course one of the worst vices for sleep apnea patients is alcohol. The same reason that sleeping pills are bad for sleep apnea patients applies to alcohol and OSA. But now a new study has come out that question whether drinking is all that bad for those with sleep apnea.

According to a study by the University of Missouri there doesn’t seem to be a connection between drinking and sleep apnea. The study consisted of 1,699 adults who were around the age of fifty. But the study did indicate that those that drink to fall asleep have a chance of hazardous drinking.

Not everyone believes that this study is valid because they had to take the participants at their word as to how much they drank which might result in underreporting on alcohol consumptions.

According to an article on Webmd “"If you ask people how much they drink, they will probably under-report, and if you ask about sleep problems, they will over-report," says Michael Breus, PhD, clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.

"I find it hard to believe that heavy drinkers are quality sleepers," he says. "They won’t have a hard time falling asleep, but staying asleep is another story."

So this shouldn’t be a green light for those with sleep apnea to drink, especially to drink to fall asleep.

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  1. Hi,
    well I would like to see the details on this study of the University of Missouri. I really really doubt that alcohol has no affect on sleep apnea...

    All I can say (I am using a CPAP now for about a year): After a heavy drinking night and sleeping with the CPAP mask during the night then, the hangover on the next day is remarkably less :) So don´t forget to put the mask on (even if your wife has to help you ;)

    All the best,

  2. Hi Benjamin,
    I am also skeptical of the report because of what alcohol does to you in the short run and also in the long run.
    thanks for commenting