Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 16–20 | Cite as

Effect of moderate alcohol intake on nocturnal sleep respiratory parameters in healthy middle-aged men

  • Ichiro IzumiEmail author
  • Ali Nasermoaddeli
  • Michikazu Sekine
  • Sadanobu Kagamimori
Original Article



It is known that a moderate to large volume of alcohol produces deterioration in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), however, no consensus has been achieved with respect to the influence of a moderate volume of alcohol on mild to moderate OSA. In this study, we investigated the influence of alcohol on OSA-associated parameters in healthy middle-aged males drinking a moderate volume of alcohol (<1 g alcohol/kg bodyweight per day).


Subjects were 23 healthy males (mean age of 46.0) with a habitual ingestion of moderate a mounts of alcohol. Respiratory sleep parameters were measured through the fitting of an Apnomonitor III (Chest Inc.) and portable sleep monitoring device (Actiwatch: AMI Inc.) to subjects on three nights; an alcohol-free night, a night on which they drank alcohol with dinner, and a night on which they drank alcohol within 30 minutes before retiring to bed. The measurements were categorized into the early and late halves of assumed sleep for analysis.


The apnea-hypopnea index was significantly higher when drinking alcohol before retiring [mean (SD): 7.8 (8.2) events/hour] than the values on the alcohol-free day [2.9 (4.5) events/hour] and when drinking alcohol with dinner [3.8 (5.3) events/hour]. Furthermore, drinking alcohol before retiring resulted in lower arterial blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) during the early half of sleep [94.8 (1.4) %] when compared to the values on the alcohol-free day [95.7 (1.3) %] and drinking alcohol with dinner [95.4 (1.6) %]. In addition, the percentage of time with SpO2<92% (hypoxic event) during the early half of sleep [4.9 (9.3) %] was significantly higher than the values on the alcohol-free day [1.2 (1.8) %] and when drinking alcohol with dinner [1.4 (1.8) %].


These results suggest that moderate ingestion of alcohol within 30 minutes before retiring aggravates OSA-associated parameters in healthy males.

Key words

obstructive sleep apnea alcohol intake oxygen saturation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. (1).
    Strollo PJ, Rogers RM. Obstructive sleep apnea. N Engl J Med. 1996; 334: 99–104.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. (2).
    Thun MJ, Peto R, Lopez AD, Monaco JH, Henley JS, Health CW, Doll R. Alcohol consumption and mertality among middle-aged and elderly U.S. adults. N Engl J Med. 1997; 337: 1705–1714.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. (3).
    Doll R, Peto R, Hall E, Wheatley K, Gray R. Mortality in relation to consumption of alcohol: 13 years’ obsrvation on male doctors. BMJ. 1994; 309: 911–918.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. (4).
    Holman CDJ, English DR, Milne E, Winter MG. Meta-analysis of alcohol and all-cause mortality: a validation of NHMRC recommendations. Med J Aust. 1996; 164: 141–145.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. (5).
    McElduff P, Dobson AJ. How much alcohol and how often? Population based case-control study of alcohol consumption and risk of a major coronary event. BMJ. 1997; 314: 1159–1164.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. (6).
    Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. Is there a safe Level of Daily Consumption of Alcohol for Men and Women? Recommendations Regarding Responsible Drinking Behaviour. Canberra, Australian Government Printing Service, 1992.Google Scholar
  7. (7).
    National Institute on alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The Physicians Guide to Helping patients with Alcohol Problems. NIH publication No. 95-3769. Washington, DC, Government Printing office, 1995.Google Scholar
  8. (8).
    Issa FQ, Sullivan CE. Alcohol, snoring and sleep apnoea. J Neurolsurg Psychiatry. 1982; 45: 353–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. (9).
    Taasan VC, Block AJ, Boysen PG, Wynne JW. Alcohol increases sleep apnea and oxygen desaturation in asymptomatic men. Am J Med. 1981; 71: 240–245.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. (10).
    Berry RB, Bonnett MH, Light RW. Effect of alcohol on the arousal response to airway occlusion during sleep. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992; 145: 445–452.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. (11).
    Berry RB, Desa MM, Light RW. Effect of ethanol on the efficacy of nasal continuous positive airway pressure as a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Chest. 1991; 99: 339–343.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. (12).
    Collop NA. Medroxyprogesterone acetate and ethanol-induced exacerbation of obstructive sleep apnea. Chest. 1994; 106: 792–799.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. (13).
    Block AJ, Hellard DW, Slayton PC. Effect of alcohol on breathing and oxygenation during sleep. Analysis on the influence of age and sex. Am J Med. 1986; 80: 595–600.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. (14).
    Teschler H, Berthon-Jones M, Wessenddorf T, Meyer H-J, Konietzko N. Influence of moderate alcohol consumption on obstructive sleep apnoea with and without Autoset nasal CPAP therapy. Eur Respir J. 1996; 9: 2371–2377.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. (15).
    Scrima L, Broudy M, Nay KN, Cohn MA. Increased severity of obstructive sleep apnoea after bedtime alcohol ingestion: diagnostic potential and proposed mechanism of action. Sleep. 1982; 5: 318–328.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. (16).
    Takishima T, Miki Y, Hida W, Nishimaki C, Shimizu Y. A new procedure in diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Nihon Iji Shinpo (Japan Medical Journal). 1987; 3292: 27–32. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  17. (17).
    Okada T, Yoshiko K, Oota T, Kayukawa Y, Terashima M. Screening of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Rinsho Noha (Clinical Electroencephalography). 1991; 33: 157–162 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  18. (18).
    Practice parameters for the use of actigraphy in the clinical assessment of sleep disorders. An American Sleep Disorders Association Report. Sleep. 1995; 18: 285–287.Google Scholar
  19. (19).
    Kushida CA, Chang A, Gadkary C, Guilleminaut C, Carrillo O, Dement WC. Comparison of actigraphic, polysomnographic, and subjective assessment of sleep parameters in sleep-disorderd patients. Sleep Med. 2001: 2: 389–396.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. (20).
    Robinson RW, White DP, Zwillich CW. Moderate alcohol ingestion increases upper airway resistance in normal subjects. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1985; 132: 1238–1241.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. (21).
    St John WM, Bartlett D Jr, Knuth KV, Knuth SL, Daubenspeck JA. Differential depression of hypoglossal nerve activity by alcohol. Protection by pretreatment with medroxyprogesterone acetate. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1986; 133: 46–48.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. (22).
    Landolt HP, Roth C, Dijk DJ, Borbely AA. Late-afternoon ethanol intake affects nocturnal sleep and the sleep EEG in middle-aged men. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1996; 16: 428–436.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. (23).
    Leiter JC, Knuth SL, Bartlett D Jr. The effect of sleep deprivation on activity of the genioglossus muscle. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1985; 132: 1242–1245.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. (24).
    Van de Borne P, Mark AL, Montano N, Mion D, Somers VK. Effects of alcohol on sympathetic activity, hemo-dynamics and chemoreflex sensitivity. Hypertension. 1997; 29: 1278–1283.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. (25).
    Abe H, Kawano Y, Kojima S, Ashida T, kuramachi M, Matsuoka H, Omae T. Biphasic effects of repeated alcohol intake on 24-hour blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Circulation. 1994; 89: 2626–2633.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. (26).
    Scanlan MF, Roebuck T, Little PJ, Redman JR, Naughton MT. Effect of moderate alcohol upon obstructive sleep apnoea. Eur Respir J. 2000; 16: 909–913.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. (27).
    Perrine MW, Mundt JC, Searles JS, Lester LS. Validation of daily self-reported alcohol consumption using interactive voice response (IVR) technology. J Stud Alcohol. 1995; 56: 487–490.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Hygiene 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ichiro Izumi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ali Nasermoaddeli
    • 1
  • Michikazu Sekine
    • 1
  • Sadanobu Kagamimori
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Welfare Promotion and Epidemiology, Faculty of MedicineToyama Medical and Pharmaceutical UniversityToyama CityJapan

Personalised recommendations