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Objective Markers of Sleep Disturbance as Predictors of Smoking Relapse

Office of Research WSU/ADA
7/1/2013 – 5/31/2014


Of the forty-five million American adults who smoke cigarettes, approximately 50% attempt to quit each year. Only 6% successfully abstain from cigarettes for longer than six months. Given the adverse health consequences of continued smoking, identifying better, more reliable predictors for smoking relapse is needed in order to target treatments and improve cessation rates. Several studies have found a link between self-reported sleep disturbances and an increased risk for smoking relapse. However, the unreliability of subjective sleep reports and mixed results regarding types of sleep disturbance make it difficult to pinpoint which aspects of sleep physiology are related to and may underlie the risk of relapse. This project aims to clarify this issue through the use of polysomnography, the gold standard of objective sleep measurement. We hypothesize that compared to individuals who successfully quit smoking, those who relapse will have less total sleep time and more fragmented sleep before quitting and especially during the nights following the quitting attempt. Subjects in the study will be healthy smokers wanting to quit, with no co-occurring medical conditions, free from drugs, and aged 22-40 years (to control for sleep confounds associated with natural aging and/or poor health). Smoking status will be assessed objectively throughout the experiment using a carbon monoxide detector and salivary cotinine samples for later quantitative analysis. Depending on whether and when subjects relapse, sleep will be recorded in the laboratory up to three consecutive nights – the night before and the two nights after smoking cessation. This study will yield the first data relating objective measures of sleep disturbance to relapsing in smokers, and will provide preliminary data for a NIH R01 grant application to study bidirectional relationships between sleep disturbance and drug addiction.

Primary Investigator

Amy Bender, PhD