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Alcohol-fuelled sleep can be ‘less satisfying’ – study

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Thursday 24th January 2013

New analysis has revealed that drinking alcohol before bed can result in your sleep being disrupted.

The team from The London Sleep Centre looked at over 100 hundred studies and carefully analysed 20 to see the effects of alcohol before bedtime. They found that alcohol seems to change sleep in three ways; it accelerates sleep onset, send us into a deep sleep and makes us experience fragmented sleep through the second half of the night. Alcohol reduces the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the stage of sleep where you experience dreams. A consequence of this could be that you feel restless.

It is advised not to get into the habit of drinking before bed as it can cause you problems and you’ll become dependent on it. If you are intending on having a drink make sure it is a couple of hours before bedtime to allow the alcohol to wear off. Drinking alcohol can also cause you problems because it’s a diuretic – causes you to need the toilet frequently – which can disrupt your sleep and means you will be getting up to go to the toilet throughout the night. You also have to be careful because increased amounts of alcohol can also suppress your breathing. It can turn non-snorers into snorers and snorers into people with sleep apnoea – a sleep condition that causes you to stop breathing for periods of time whilst asleep.

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