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Friday, January 25, 2013

Alcohol Causes Sleep Disruption

Over the years researchers continually discover new adverse effects related to the consumption of alcohol on the human body. While some are worse than others, none of the effects can be said to have redeeming qualities. New research has determined that alcohol may help people initially fall asleep deeply; however, alcohol may disrupt sleep during the second half of the sleep cycle.

20 previously published studies on alcohol and sleep were reviewed by researchers, according to NBCNews.com. No matter how much alcohol a person consumed, research showed that alcohol reduced the time it takes people to fall asleep, and helped them to sleep more deeply during the first half of the night.

The results were quite different during the second half of the night including: sleep disruption and waking after falling asleep. Overall rapid eye movement (REM) sleep was reduced by having at least two drinks. REM sleep is when dreaming occurs and is thought to be important for memory, the article notes.

All of the studies participants were healthy and were observed in a clinical overnight sleep lab.

“Alcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night’s sleep,” study co-author Chris Idzikowski, Director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said in a news release. “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 study will be published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 

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