By Mary Sauer
Conventional wisdom has it that drinking and smoking go together like milk and cookies, and a University of Missouri study is now able to back that up. In their study, researchers used electrodes to measure the sleep patterns of rats after giving them alcohol and nicotine. As expected, they observed alcohol increasing sleep in the rats studied. Additionally, they saw nicotine was canceling the sleep-related effects of alcohol, allowing the rats to remain alert.
Sleepiness is a negative effect of alcohol consumption, explained Mahesh Thakkar, lead author and associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. “However, when used in conjunction with alcohol, nicotine acts as a stimulant to ward off sleep,” he said. “If an individual smokes, then he or she is much more likely to consume more alcohol and vice-versa. They feed off one another.”
The researchers responsible for this study believe understanding the relationship between alcohol and nicotine could come in handy when assisting in efforts to recover from either addiction.