Cheers: Does downing a nightcap help you sleep?

According to

Despite urban legends to the contrary, drinking doesn’t lead to a better night’s sleep.

Having a few drinks may help you fall asleep, but that deep slumber continues for only part of the night.

After that point, getting shut-eye becomes more difficult … and there’s a serious downside.


Researchers analyzed … more than 500 people who drank low, moderate or high amounts of alcohol before going to bed, and underwent testing while they snoozed in a sleep lab.

Here’s what they found ..

Regardless of how much people drank, alcohol reduced the time it took them to fall asleep.

In addition, drinking alcohol, no matter the quantity, increased deep sleep during the first half of the night.

However, sleep disruption, or waking after falling asleep, increased during the second half of the night.

In addition, moderate doses (2 to 4 drinks) and high doses (more than 4 drinks) of alcohol reduced overall rapid eye movement (REM) sleep during the night.

REM sleep is a stage of sleep during which dreams occur, and is thought to be important for memory.

“Alcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night’s sleep”.

Alcohol may help you fall sleep, but it won’t keep you asleep.

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Oh yeah, almost forgot.

The real downside: any alcohol will cause hypotonia (muscle relaxation) and that airways means more collapse of the upper airways.

English translation: more snoring.


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