Why many boozers also are smokers? A new study by researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine has revealed that nicotine cancels out the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol. The study findings have implications to improve health, not only for heavy drinkers and smokers, but also for individuals with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, which often is associated with smoking.
Researcher Mahesh Thakkar said, "We found that nicotine weakens the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol by stimulating a response in an area of the brain known as the basal forebrain and by identifying the reactions that take place when people smoke and drink, they may be able to use this knowledge to help curb alcohol and nicotine addiction."
For the study, rats were fitted with sleep-recording electrodes and given alcohol and nicotine. The research team found that nicotine acts via the basal forebrain to suppress the sleep-inducing effects of alcohol.
The study appears in Journal of Neurochemistry.