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Alcohol and Sleep: Bad Tango Partners

The saying: “It takes two to make a thing go right”, certainly does not apply to combining sleep with alcohol.  The act of sleeping is still generally considered to be unknown to the scientific world.  Research has discovered that the deprivation of sleep has negative effects on the human body, but it is still scientifically unclear why sleep is considered beneficial to humans.  It’s obvious that sleeping allows the body to replenish and rest, however, recent studies have shown that brain activity doesn’t decrease during sleep; it actually maintains its productivity.

Now that research has shown that brain activity is consistent throughout sleep, studies can be conducted to properly understand and treat different sleeping problems.  A new study regarding the effects that alcohol has on sleeping quality has surfaced some interesting findings to the health community.  To some people, an alcoholic drink before going to bed will act as a sleep aid.  Alcohol has a calming effect on the body that will usually promote the first faze of going to sleep.  However, the deeper stage of sleep known as REM is more difficult to attain when the effects of alcohol are present.  Also, alcohol may decrease the initial time that it takes to fall asleep, but late night arousals can occur from consistent withdraws of the REM sleep.

Alcohol consumption before bed can also increase the effects of sleeping problems in people that have disorders during sleep.  When alcohol is consumed, it can narrow people’s airway passage making breathing to become more difficult, especially for those who have sleep apnea.  All in all, combining alcohol with sleep just doesn’t mix well.

Sleeping needs to be accomplished naturally in order to ensure that all stages of sleep can be accomplished.  Alcohol may promote falling asleep quicker, however, the side effects from alcohol can confuse the sleeping pattern and potentially throw it off completely further in the future.  For future reference, don’t have an alcoholic drink before going to bed.

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