We have known for some time that drinking alcohol into the late evening will interfere with sleep. Now another study to be published in the Nov. 2011 issue of the journal “Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research”confirms this.
If you want uninterrupted sleep don’t drink alcohol. You might fall asleep easily when you have been drinking but you will most likely wake several times during the night and will not feel as rested the following day.
The recent study was carried out on Japan with 100 young men. They were followed for 3 weeks as they drank 3 different kinds of alcoholic drinks during the hour and 40 minutes prior to bedtime. During the period of the study the men’s heart was monitored and it was found that drinking interferes with the restorative functions of sleep.
“It is generally believed that having a nightcap may aid sleep, especially sleep initiation,” said Seiji Nishino, director of the Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology Laboratory at Stanford University School of Medicine in California. “This may be true for some people who have small amounts of alcohol intake. However, it should be noted that large amounts of alcohol intake interfere with sleep quality and the restorative role of sleep and these negative consequences may be much larger during chronic alcohol intake,”
Normally when we sleep at night, the part of the nervous system that is responsible for ‘rest-and-digest’ activities dominates. But the alcohol seemed to interfere with this, which can result in insomnia, difficulty getting to sleep, early-morning awakening, lack of a sense of deep sleep and difficulty maintaining sleep, the researchers said. “The results of this study suggest that ethanol interferes with the restorative functions of sleep,” the study’s authors concluded.
Of course we have known this for years but it is good to be reminded again that alcohol may be one of the reasons we are feeling tired. So a good sleep tip is to give up your evening tipple.
A problem I can see with this study is that the subjects are Japanese. Asian men are known to have a problem digesting alcohol. It would be useful if theis study could be replicated with non Asians. It would also be very helpful if for once women were part of such a study. We need to know if women are more or less affected by drinking, especially in the evening.