If you think that glass of wine before bed has been helping you with your zzzz’s, you may need to rethink your sleep strategy. Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that alcohol interferes with the brain’s drive to sleep.
“The prevailing thought was that alcohol promotes sleep by changing a person’s circadian rhythm — the body’s built-in 24-hour clock,” says Dr. Mahesh Thakkar. “We discovered that alcohol actually promotes sleep by affecting a person’s sleep homeostasis — the brain’s built-in mechanism that regulates your sleepiness and wakefulness.”
So if alcohol forces a person to sleep early, natural sleep patterns are affected.
“Approximately one-third of our life is spent sleeping,” says Thakkar. “Coupled with statistics that show 20 per cent of people drink alcohol to sleep, it’s vital that we understand how the two interact. If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, don’t use alcohol.”