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Alcohol lowers sleep quality by 40%

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Just two glasses of wine reduces people’s quality of sleep by nearly 40 per cent, new research suggests.

Heavy alcohol consumption, which is defined as two drinks a night in women and three in men, reduces people’s quality of shut eye by 39.2 per cent, a study found.

Previous research suggests alcohol causes people to spend less time in deep, restful sleep and more time in the rapid eye movement stage, which is when dreams occur.

Results imply young people suffer the effects of alcohol more than their older counterparts.

Study co-author Professor Tero Myllymäki, from Tampere University of Technology, Finland, said: “When you’re physically active, or younger, it’s easy, natural even, to feel like you’re invincible.

“However, the evidence shows that despite being young and active you’re still susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol on recovery when you are asleep.”

How the research was carried out. The researchers analysed 4,098 adults aged between 18 and 65 years old.

The participants wore heart-rate variability measuring devices for at least two nights; one of which they had consumed alcohol and the other they were sober.

This comes after research released last January suggested less than eight hours sleep is linked to anxiety and depression.

Insomniacs are less able to overcome negative thoughts than those who get sufficient shut eye, a study found.

Being unable to nod off also reduces people’s ability to disengage from negative emotions, the research adds.

Study author Professor Meredith Coles, from Binghamton University, said: “We found that people in this study have some tendencies to have thoughts get stuck in their heads, and their elevated negative thinking makes it difficult for them to disengage with the negative stimuli that we exposed them to.

“We realized over time that this might be important – this repetitive negative thinking is relevant to several different disorders like anxiety, depression and many other things.”

The findings were published in the journal JMIR Mental Health.

Insomnia may be psychological, research suggested in May 2017.

Sufferers who take placebo pills feel more rested than those who get no treatment at all, according to a review of 13 studies.

According to the researchers, the simple act of taking a pill may ease the anxiety that makes it harder for some insomnia sufferers to fall asleep.

Dr. Patrick Finan from Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in the study, said: “Insomnia is shaped by expectation and perception, so it is not surprising that placebos, which implicitly alter expectation, are effective in improving perceptions of sleep.”

The researchers, from the University of Sydney, examined data from a total of 566 insomnia sufferers who were assigned to either receive a placebo that they believed was an active treatment or no pills at all.

Placebo patients reported greater improvements in their ability to fall asleep, the total amount of rest they got and their sleep quality.

Comparing placebo against recognised insomnia therapies can give inaccurate results as simply believing you are receiving a sleep-inducing treatment can ease the condition.

Study author Dr. Ben Colagiuri, said: “The comparison with no treatment means that we can be sure that the improvement we observed was due to a genuine placebo effect, rather than being an artifact of simply taking part in a trial.”

Insomnia may be considered a condition of the mind due to one person averaging four hours sleep a night and feeling sufficiently rested, while another may get seven hours and feel the amount or quality of their shut eye is inadequate, Dr. Finan explained.

Professor Myllymäki added: “It is hard to overstate the importance of sleep, in terms of both quality and quantity.

“While we may not always be able to add hours to our sleep time, with insight into how our behaviors influence the restorative quality of our sleep we can learn to sleep more efficiently.

“A small change, as long as it’s the right one, can have a big impact.”

Results further suggest that moderate alcohol consumption, defined as two drinks a day for men and one for women, reduces sleep quality by 24 per cent.

A low alcohol intake inhibits slumbers by 9.3 per cent.


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