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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Drinkers unaware of effect on sleep

19th August 2009

A study has highlighted that many people do not realise alcohol can disturb a good night’s sleep.


The government-funded poll of 2,000 drinkers showed that almost half of them felt tired the day after drinking more than the recommended daily limit.

And 58% of those questioned were unaware that sleep problems could be caused by exceeding the limit, with alcohol interfering with the brain.

The study also showed that many people were unaware that dehydration caused by drinking could affect their sleep.

Alcohol stops the brain from releasing vasopressin, a chemical which tells the kidneys to reabsorb water that would otherwise end up in the bladder. Without this signal, the drinker needs more frequent trips to the toilet with the loss of water leading to a headache.

Alcohol also affects the REM stage of sleep necessary for deep sleep.

Jessica Alexander from the Sleep Council, said: "Although many people may feel alcohol helps them get off to sleep, it is also a major culprit for disrupting your night as it can interfere with the body's chemical processes needed for sound sleep.

"Waking up deprived of the vital sleep your body needs will leave you feeling drained and, if experienced night after night, can seriously affect your health and wellbeing."

Drinking above the daily limit most days of the week can leave the body ill equipped to deal with the strains of daily life, she said.

The NHS has an online interactive units calculator for a "better night's sleep and a happier brain".


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