Sleep Dysfunction as a Core Feature of Opioid Use Disorder and Recovery

Overview

The Research Need

More than 75 percent of people with opioid use disorder have sleep problems, such as irregular sleep schedules, not sleeping enough, and/or having a sleep disorder (e.g., insomnia, sleep apnea). While inadequate sleep impairs quality of life, it also may contribute directly to  addiction, including reward, stress, emotional regulation, decision making, and social engagement.

About the Program

This program supports basic and clinical research to understand how sleep and circadian rhythms are related to opioid addiction, withdrawal, relapse, and response to medication treatment (including existing medications). This research will identify sleep-controlled molecules and pathways that may serve as potential therapeutic targets for preventing and treating opioid use disorder and addiction.

Program Details

To date, through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, NIH has funded eight awards for this program, totaling $25.6 million.

Research Examples

Research examples supported by this program include:

  • Examining how sleep deficiency affects the risk of relapse in individuals treated for opioid use disorder and whether interventions to improve sleep problems lead to better  treatment outcomes
  • Studying how sleep problems trigger mechanisms in the brain that increase the risk of opioid misuse
  • Investigating the mechanisms that connect sleep disturbance to opioid use disorder, including stress, mood, craving, pain, and addiction risk
  • Identifying potential opioid use disorder therapeutic targets to improve sleep and to counteract the effects of sleep disturbance on opiate misuse, addiction, and relapse
  • Learning which sleep disturbances influence opioid use disorder medication treatment response
  • Studying how medications to treat opioid use disorder affect sleep regulation and circadian rhythms

  • Johns Hopkins University – Maryland
  • Medical College of Wisconsin – Wisconsin
  • Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center – Pennsylvania
  • SRI International – California
  • Stanford University – California
  • University of Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania
  • Wayne State University – Michigan
  • Yale University – Connecticut

Funded Projects

2023
Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Differentially Modulate Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cell Function, Sleep, and Circadian Rhythms: Implications for Treatment
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Value of Sleep Metrics in Predicting Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Outcomes: Leadership and Data Coordinating Center
Nov 28, 2023
2023
The Impact of Central Sleep Apnea in Patients Receiving Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Investigating Mechanisms Underpinning Outcomes in People on Opioid Agonist Treatment for OUD: Disentangling Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Influences on Craving and Emotion Regulation
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Phenotypes and Mechanisms Associated With Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Outcomes
Nov 28, 2023

Open Funding Opportunities

2023
Investigating Mechanisms Underpinning Outcomes in People on Opioid Agonist Treatment for OUD: Disentangling Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Influences on Craving and Emotion Regulation
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Differentially Modulate Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cell Function, Sleep, and Circadian Rhythms: Implications for Treatment
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Phenotypes and Mechanisms Associated With Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Outcomes
Nov 28, 2023
2023
The Impact of Central Sleep Apnea in Patients Receiving Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Value of Sleep Metrics in Predicting Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Outcomes: Leadership and Data Coordinating Center
Nov 28, 2023
2020
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): NHLBI and NIDA Announce Availability of Administrative Supplements for HEAL Awardees to Address Sleep Impairments in OUD Treatment Response and Recovery Outcomes
Mar 27, 2020

Closed Funding Opportunities

2020
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): NHLBI and NIDA Announce Availability of Administrative Supplements for HEAL Awardees to Address Sleep Impairments in OUD Treatment Response and Recovery Outcomes
Mar 27, 2020