Taking alcohol before going to bed initially acts as a sedative but it doesn’t give you the rest you need, according to Australian research.
A study of the effects of alcohol on sleep in university students found that pre-sleep drinking is a likely cause of disturbed sleep.
“People likely tend to focus on the commonly reported sedative properties of alcohol, which is reflected in shorter times to fall asleep, particularly in adults, rather than the sleep disruption that occurs later in the night,” says Christian L. Nicholas of the Sleep Research Laboratory at the University of Melbourne.
Nicholas and his colleagues found that pre-sleep alcohol consumption, particularly over long periods of time, could have significant detrimental effects on daytime well-being and functions such as learning and memory processes.
Alcohol is not a sleep aid, says Nicholas.
“The take home message here is that alcohol is not actually a particularly good sleep aid even though it may seem like it helps you get to sleep quicker,” he says. “In fact, the quality of the sleep you get is significantly altered and disrupted.”
The results of the study are published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
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