Is family history of alcohol dependence a risk factor for disturbed sleep in alcohol dependent subjects?

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 Jul 1;188:311-317. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.04.017. Epub 2018 May 19.


Background: Disturbed sleep and a family history of alcohol dependence (AD) are risk factors for developing AD, yet the underlying relationship between them is unclear among individuals with AD. Understanding these inherited associations will help us not only identify risk for development of these comorbid disorders, but also individualize treatment at this interface. We evaluated whether a first-degree family history of AD (FH+) was a risk factor for sleep continuity disturbance in patients with AD. We also evaluated whether alcohol use or mood disturbance moderated the relationship between FH and sleep.

Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional baseline data from an alcohol clinical trial in a sample of individuals with AD (N = 280). Their family history of AD among nuclear family members, sleep complaints, alcohol use (over the last 90 days), and mood disturbance were assessed using the Family History Interview for Substance and Mood Disorders, Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale, Time Line Follow-Back Interview, and Profile of Mood States-Short Form, respectively.

Results: A FH + status (65% of subjects) was significantly associated with lower model estimated mean sleep adequacy (β = - 7.05, p = 0.02) and sleep duration (β = - 0.38, p = 0.04) scale scores. FH was not associated with sleep disturbance scale. No significant moderating effect involving alcohol use or mood disturbance was seen.

Conclusion: Family history of AD is a unique risk factor for sleep complaints in AD. Non-restorative sleep and sleep duration may be noteworthy phenotypes to help probe for underlying genotypic polymorphisms in these comorbid disorders.

Keywords: Alcohol drinking; Alcoholism and family; Sleep; Sleep initiation and maintenance disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / genetics
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / genetics
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / genetics