For those of us who drink a routine tipple before bed, there’s a bit of bad news: it’s not actually proven to get you a better night’s sleep – it actually could be making your quality of rest worse.
According to researchers, alcohol is a sedative however once you’re asleep, it’s more likely to disrupt you from a proper kip. An Australian study of the effects of alcohol on sleep EEG power spectra found that pre-sleep drinking not only causes an initial increase in Slow Wave Sleep (SWS)-related delta power but also causes an increase in frontal alpha power, which is thought to reflect disturbed sleep.
Author of the study, Dr Christian Nicholas, said “People likely tend to focus on the commonly reported sedative properties of alcohol, which is reflected in shorter times to fall asleep, particularly in adults, rather than the sleep disruption that occurs later in the night”.
Non-Rapid Eye Movement is said to be a crucial factor in how much quality sleep you have, so that 9 o’clock sip of gin could be affecting your ability to function properly during the day.
In summary, the thing to take away from this is that a night cap could have “significant detrimental effects on daytime well-being and neurocognitive function such as learning and memory processes”. Alcohol is not a sleep aid, says Dr Nicholas, despite it feeling like it is.
An excuse for day drinking? Perhaps.
Do you have a drink before bed? What is your beverage of choice? Do you have a bad sleep after a night cap? Tell us below.