Why cocaine causes sleep deprivation: Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that can have many damaging effects on both the body and the mind, including a negative impact on an individual’s sleep cycle leading to sleep deprivation, insomnia and hypersomnia.
Martin Preston, addiction specialist at Private Rehab Centre Delamere discusses how and why cocaine affects sleep and the implications it can have for frequent drug users.
How does cocaine affect your sleep?
“Due to cocaine being a stimulant, it can often lead to users feeling like they are unable to sleep or have less of a need for sleep. Those abusing cocaine and suffering from an addiction to the substance will often notice a significant impact on their sleeping habits.
The impact of cocaine on the different levels of sleep
“Using cocaine impacts all five stages of sleep, 1 and 2 (light sleep), 2 and 4 (deep sleep) which is a regenerative sleep that allows the body to repair itself and 5 (REM sleep) where a person does most of their dreaming and is important for learning and memory.
Stages 1 and 2
Cocaine increases the amounts of dopamine in the brain and keeps the body alert making it difficult to fall asleep and impacting the first sleep stage.
Stages 3 and 4
Often users of cocaine are unable to fall into this period of deep sleep where the body regenerates, which can have a detrimental effect as the body cannot repair tissue, strengthen muscles or enhance the immune system.
Lastly, individuals using cocaine have a suppressed REM sleep, which is the period when a person usually dreams. When this stage of sleep is affected the brain cannot fully process learning and memory properly from the day and optimal rest cannot be achieved.
Why cocaine can lead to insomnia?
Stimulants like cocaine increase the level of dopamine in the brain, which promotes alertness and makes a person using it feel very awake. That is why someone abusing the drug frequently for long periods of time will often develop severe sleep problems like insomnia.
Cocaine users and hypersomnia
Excessive cocaine use can also lead to an individual suffering from hypersomnia alongside insomnia. Hypersomnia causes a person to be extremely tired throughout the day and not refreshed by the sleep they do have, this can often result in a negative impact on the person’s mental awareness and alertness.”