Is Alcohol Affecting Your Sleep?
Many people think of alcohol as a substance that can help them relax after a long day at the office or even act as a sleeping aid after a stressful or active day. But a drink before bed can have a serious effect on sleep, often aggravating insomnia rather than eliminating it. And for those people at risk for alcohol dependence, drinking regularly before bed, over time, could lead to dependency.
When ingested by normal individuals, alcohol leads to a more rapid induction of sleep. However, it also impairs sleep during the second half of the night and can lead to a reduction in overall sleep time. Interestingly, alcohol’s negative effects on sleep are even observed when it is ingested in the late afternoon.
Lack of sleep can have serious consequences, including increased risk of depressive disorders, impaired breathing, and heart disease. In addition, excessive daytime sleepiness resulting from sleep disturbance is associated with memory deficits, impaired social and occupational function, and car crashes.