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Alcohol sleep misconception still rife - study

25-08-2009

New research released this week has found that many people do not know that excessive drinking can adversely affect the quality of sleep. In a survey for the polling organisation YouGov, some 58% of 2000 respondents didn’t feel that drinking more than the recommended daily limit had any effect on their sleep. As well as this, 45% admitting to feeling the after effects of heavy drinking the day after, but not attributing the feelings of exhaustion to lost sleep.

It is a common misconception that drinking can help with sleep - while a heavy drinking session may result in nodding off to sleep, the quality of sleep will rarely reach REM level needed to get a beneficial rest because of the stimulant effect of alcohol. The other effects that excessive drinking has on the body – dehydration, needing to regularly go to the toilet - means that you’re more likely to unexpectedly wake up throughout the night, further disrupting an already poor quality sleep. Any day following a night of bad sleep will invariably be a difficult experience as the body fights to use non-existent energy reserves, a feeling that is exacerbated by a hangover.

"Some people are wrongly under the illusion that a heavy night’s drinking will mean a good night’s sleep," said Chris Sorek, Chief Executive of Drinkaware. "People should be aware that alcohol affects quality of sleep – which can make the ‘morning after’ feeling even more unbearable because of tiredness."

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