Too Much of Alcohol Linked to Poor Sleep

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 23 2009 11:06 AM

A new British government poll has revealed that most people do not know that drinking too much of liquor affects a good night's sleep.

In a government-funded survey, conducted by YouGov, half of 2,000 drinkers reported fatigue the day after drinking more than the recommended daily limit.

And 58 percent of them didn't know that exceeding the recommended daily limit causes sleep problems.

Men are advised to drink not more than four units a day which is equivalent to two pints of regular-strength beer, while women not more than three units, the equivalent of a large, 250ml glass of wine.

The survey suggested that a lot of people did not know that the dehydration caused by drinking could interfere with their sleep.

The finding explains that alcohol stops the brain from releasing vasopressin, a chemical, which tells the kidneys to reabsorb water that would otherwise end up in the bladder. Without this signal, the drinker needs more frequent trips to the toilet.

The loss of water then leads to a headache emanating from the inner lining of the skull.

To add to it, liquor disrupts the "REM" stage of sleep, which is important for a deep and effective slumber, since after drinking the body tends to fall straight into a deep sleep, and only enters the REM stage once the alcohol has been metabolised.

"Although many people may feel alcohol helps them get off to sleep, it is also a major culprit for disrupting your night as it can interfere with the body's chemical processes needed for sound sleep," The BBC quoted spokesperson for the Sleep Council, Jessica Alexander, as saying.

She added: "Waking up deprived of the vital sleep your body needs will leave you feeling drained and, if experienced night after night, can seriously affect your health and wellbeing.

"If you find yourself drinking above the recommended daily limits most days of the week, your body may be constantly trying to catch up and then it's likely you'll never feel fully alert or equipped to deal with the stresses and strains of daily life."