How booze plays havoc with your rest: Alcohol reduces amount of time spent in deep sleep
It helps you get to sleep quicker but rest is disrupted, report findsThe more alcohol consumed, the less deep sleep takes placeAlcohol should not be used as sleeping aid, researchers warn
Daily Mail Reporter
01:58 GMT, 23 January 2013
01:58 GMT, 23 January 2013
Alcohol may help you fall asleep but it leads to a disrupted night’s rest, scientists reported yesterday.
Drinking was found to increase tiredness by reducing the length of time in deep sleep, which is important in allowing the body and mind to relax.
Irshaad Ebrahim, of the London Sleep Centre and co-author of the report, found the higher the consumption of alcohol the less deep – or REM – sleep takes place.
Alcohol can help you get to sleep quicker but it leads to a disrupted night's rest, scientists say
Lack of it can have a detrimental effect on concentration, motor skills and memory.
Dr Ebrahim said he hoped the review
would help people understand that short-term alcohol use only gives the
impression of improving sleep and should not be used as a sleep aid.
Study co-author Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director of the London Sleep Centre, said: 'This review has for the first time consolidated all the available literature on the immediate effects of alcohol on the sleep of healthy individuals.'
Colleague Chris Idzikowski, of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said: 'Alcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night’s sleep.
'Sleep may be deeper to start with, but then becomes disrupted. Additionally, that deeper sleep will probably promote snoring and poorer breathing. So, one shouldn’t expect better sleep with alcohol.'
The review found that at all dosages, alcohol brings on sleep quicker, but leads to an increase in sleep disruption in the second half of sleep.
Researchers have said the study shows that alcohol should not be used as a sleeping aid
Dr Ebrahim said: 'This review confirms that the immediate and short-term impact of alcohol is to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
'In addition, the higher the dose, the greater the impact on increasing deep sleep. This effect on the first half of sleep may be partly the reason some people with insomnia use alcohol as a sleep aid.
'However, the effect of consolidating sleep in the first half of the night is offset by having more disrupted sleep in the second half of the night.'
Alcohol’s effects on REM sleep in the first half of sleep appear to how much alcohol has been consumed.
Dr Idzikowski said: 'Certainly a mythology seems to have developed around the impact of alcohol on sleep.'
The findings will be published in the April issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.