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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 May 1;115(1-2):62-6. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.10.015. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

A multistudy analysis of the effects of early cocaine abstinence on sleep.

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  • 1Connecticut Mental Health Center, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT 06519, United States.



To describe the sleep patterns of early cocaine abstinence in chronic users by polysomnographic and subjective measures.


28 cocaine-dependent participants (ages 24-55) underwent polysomnographic sleep (PSG) recording on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd weeks of abstinence on a research dedicated inpatient facility. Objective measures of total sleep time, total REM time, slow wave sleep, sleep efficiency and a subjective measure (sleep quality) along with demographic data were collected from three different long term research studies over a five year period. Data were reanalysed to allow greater statistical power for comparisons.


Progressive weeks of abstinence had main effects on all assessed PSG sleep measures showing decreased total sleep time, REM sleep, stages 1 and 2 sleep, and sleep efficiency; increases in sleep onset and REM latencies and a slight increase in slow-wave sleep time were also present. Total sleep time and slow wave sleep were negatively associated with years of cocaine use. Total sleep time was positively associated with the amount of current ethanol use. Sex differences were found with females having more total REM time and an increase at a near significance level in slow wave sleep. Subjective measures were reported as improving with increasing abstinence over the same time period.


Chronic cocaine users show a general deterioration in objective sleep measures over a three-week period despite an increase in subjective overall sleep quality providing further evidence for "occult insomnia" during early cocaine abstinence.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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