Does drinking alcohol improve your sleep?

You may find it easier to fall asleep after you’ve been drinking, but more than two dozen studies show that alcohol and good sleep do not go hand in hand.

Researchers have recently reviewed 27 studies on that topic and come to the conclusion that alcohol induced sleeping is not that good for you. It turns out that drinking reduces your rapid eye movement, known as REM, causing your sleep to be less restful.

When it comes to drinking affecting your sleep, the more alcohol that you consume or the more drunk you are the more slowly your REM becomes. You enter into REM sleep around 90 minutes after you fall asleep. Having alcohol in your system often disrupts your sleep. It can even cause sleep apnea, which is when you stop breathing (often for short bits of time) in your sleep. These disruptions wake you up a bit, throwing off your REM cycle. Doing that can cause you to feel drowsy and affect your ability to concentrate during the day.

Irshaad Ebrahim who is is the medical director at the London Sleep Centre in the U.K. and a researcher says, “The immediate and short-term impact of alcohol is to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and this effect on the first half of sleep may be partly the reason some people with insomnia use alcohol as a sleep aid. However, this is offset by having more disrupted sleep in the second half of the night. Alcohol should not be used as a sleep aid, and regular use of alcohol as a sleep aid may result in alcohol dependence.”


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