Question from Emma O’Shaughnessy

Is it true that drinking alcohol at night disturbs your sleep? I really enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner but am wondering if this is affecting my sleep.

Answer

It may be true that a glass of wine makes you fall asleep easier, but research has shown that it disrupts deep sleep. Alcohol consumption before bed shortens the duration of REM sleep significantly. REM sleep is extremely important for healthy brain function. During REM sleep new memories are formed, memory is stored, learning takes place, and mood is balanced. A lack of REM sleep can lead to poor memory and concentration, difficulty learning new tasks, and mood disorders. Alcohol consumption before sleep can also cause or worsen sleep apnea which has serious health implications. Heavy alcohol consumption before sleep causes very restless and light sleep, which is not restorative or healthy.

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