Alcoholic drinks affect sleep cycles

A study conducted at the Sleep Center of London suggests that consuming alcohol before sleep can impair sleep. According to investigators, alcohol impairs sleep cycles and, if consumed frequently before bed can cause problems such as chronic insomnia. The research was published in the January issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

The team analyzed about a hundred studies on the consumption of alcohol before bed and then left for a more detailed examination of 20 studies. From these analyzes, they found that alcohol alters sleep in three ways: accelerates the onset of sleep, causes the person to fall into a deep sleep and lie so fragmented sleep patterns in the second half of the night.

These first two changes, similar to those seen in people taking antidepressants, may look good and to explain why people with insomnia consume drink to sleep. However, this quickly damages the full cycle of sleep, causing the person to wake up with the same tired when it was sleeping. But the third change is the most damaging, according to the researchers, alcohol reduces the time spent in REM sleep, the stage in which dreams usually occur. As a result, people have a less restful sleep. Scientists say that the ideal is to have a range of up to two hours between last dose and sleep.
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