Disturbed sleep is one of the most frequent complaints of both active and recovering alcoholics. Clinical studies have shown that the degree of severity of sleep disturbances is related to the propensity of recovered alcoholics to relapse into drinking. The reason for this relationship and the basis for the sleep disturbances caused by chronic alcohol exposure remain unknown. We have developed an animal model of chronic alcohol exposure that recapitulates many of the sleep disturbances shown by human alcoholics. We are currently working
to improve and expand this model and to begin exploration of possible
biochemical disturbances caused by chronic alcohol that lead to altered sleep.