Rest-Activity Patterns in Adults Receiving Methadone for Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

Primary author: Lillian Skeiky
Co-author(s): Marian Wilson; Matthew Layton; Raymond Quock; Hans Van Dongen; Devon Hansen
Faculty sponsor: Devon A. Hansen, PhD, LMHC

Primary college/unit: Arts and Sciences
Campus: Spokane

Individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) report significant sleep/wake disturbances, which continue even when they stabilize with medication-assisted treatment. However, the nature of reported sleep/wake disturbances has not been well documented. We compared rest/activity patterns observed with a wrist-worn activity monitor, which provides objective estimates of sleep/wake disturbances, to control groups comprised of nurses working day or night shifts.

Seven adults undergoing methadone treatment for OUD wore a wrist activity monitor continuously for 7 days. Hospital nurses – 7 on a day shift schedule and 7 on a night shift schedule (six 12-hour shifts within a two-week period) – also wore a wrist activity monitor continuously for 14 days. The observed rest/activity patterns were analyzed through cosinor analysis to evaluate circadian rhythmicity, and through analysis of the distribution of inactive periods to estimate sleep continuity.

As expected, nurses working day shifts displayed strong circadian rhythmicity and high sleep continuity. Nurses working night shifts showed dampened circadian rhythmicity, but exhibited high sleep continuity. For the OUD methadone treatment group, the strength of circadian rhythmicity was between that of nurses on day versus night shifts, and this group experienced reduced sleep continuity.

These findings suggest disturbed sleep in individuals receiving methadone for medication-assisted treatment of OUD. This may interfere with their ability to achieve OUD recovery goals, and is worthy of investigation in a laboratory setting. This research was partially supported by the State of Washington via the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program.