Opioid Use Disorder, Sleep Deficiency, and Ventilatory Control: Bidirectional Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets

Danny J. Eckert, H. Klar Yaggi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Opioid use continues to rise globally. So too do the associated adverse consequences. Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by loss of control over opioid use and impairments in cognitive function, mood, pain perception, and autonomic activity. Sleep deficiency, a term that encompasses insufficient or disrupted sleep due to multiple potential causes, including sleep disorders, circadian disruption, and poor sleep quality or structure due to other medical conditions and pain, is present in 75% of patients with OUD. Sleep deficiency accompanies OUD across the spectrum of this addiction. The focus of this concise clinical review is to highlight the bidirectional mechanisms between OUD and sleep deficiency and the potential to target sleep deficiency with therapeutic interventions to promote long-term, healthy recovery among patients in OUD treatment. In addition, current knowledge on the effects of opioids on sleep quality, sleep architecture, sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea endotypes, ventilatory control, and implications for therapy and clinical practice are highlighted. Finally, an actionable research agenda is provided to evaluate the basic mechanisms of the relationship between sleep deficiency and OUD and the potential for behavioral, pharmacologic, and positive airway pressure treatments targeting sleep deficiency to improve OUD treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-949
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • Lung
  • morphine
  • respiratory physiology
  • sleep disordered breathing
  • sleep disruption


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