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Ethanol may disrupt sleep in female college students when consumed in binge


Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking in which alcohol is ingested at least once a week and in amounts equal or superior to 5 drinks ( 1 drink = 10g of alcohol) in a period of two hours .This pattern of consumption is associated to fights, accidents, suicidal ideation, black outs, and death . Alcohol is specially dangerous to those who present high vulnerability. Vulnerability includes epigenetics , depressive mood, anxiety, early onset, , and personality disorders. Environmental characteristics such as unemployement, social distress , easy acessment to the drug and being raised among people with good expectations of the effects of a drug are strong factors leading to misuse . Women are of higher vulnerability mostly because of smaller volume of distribution resulting in higher alcohol blood levels. Other factors may be present as well such as hormonal differences.Research indicate that sleep may serve as a precursor, predictor, and consequence of addictions. There is not much information on this subject and alcohol misuse and even less about gender differences related to sleep disturbances after alcohol intoxication and withdrawal in binge drinkers.


The present study aimed to evaluate insomnia in college students and its relationship to consumption of alcohol and other illicit drugs.


In a cross sectional sample of 286 participants, we assessed relationships among insomnia , measured by the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), use of alcohol and illicit substance (ASSIST) and sociodemographic factors. We also analyzed whether these relationships varied by sex via stratified analyses


A significant relationship between insomnia and sex was found. Among females, ISI scores were lower among non-drinkers compared to binge drinkers (Mann Whitney test, p< 0.05). However, no significant differences were observed for males.


Women who binge drink alcohol had more insomnia than those who do not drink, which was not observed in males. Our findings add value to the existent literature, as to our knowledge ,no sex differences in the relationship between sleep and substance use among Brazilian students were observed prior to our study. As far as we know, there are not many studies on the same subject in other countries too. Future research is needed to clarify our finding . Studies planned to determine for how long this effect can be detected are necessary..


Key words: sleep, alcohol, gender, female, binge drinking.


Área Clínica


New York University - - Estados Unidos, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora - Minas Gerais - Brasil, Universidade Federal Fluminense - Rio de Janeiro - Brasil


Vilma Aparecida Silva-Fonseca, Aline Silva Aguiar, Mariana Sita Silva-Fonseca, Larissa Sladeck, Elisabeth Martins Silva-Rocha, Rachel Moraes Santos, Girardin Jean-Louis, Azizi Seixas