Is Alcohol a Good Sleep Aid?

Sleep difficulties have become a huge problem in America, where numerous people constantly struggle to attain the recommended seven to eight hours of nightly sleep. To encourage deeper, longer periods of sleep, many rely on alcoholic drinks, which help make them feel drowsy. Unfortunately, new research indicates that this strategy could actually make it more difficult to sleep, especially for people who suffer from frequent waking.

Not the Best Idea

Researchers recently analyzed data from 20 older studies that tested alcohol as a potential sleep aid. Combined, these older studies included more than 500 subjects who drank varying amounts of alcohol before trying to sleep. After testing all participants in sleep labs, the past studies determined that drinking alcohol did in fact promote sleep, regardless of how much each subject consumed. What’s more, alcoholic beverages seemed to promote deeper sleep, at least during the first half of the night.

During the second half of the night, however, things changed. In fact, according to all 20 of the studies’ results, after offering an initial sedative benefit, alcohol appeared to interfere with sleep by promoting frequent waking and decreasing restorative REM sleep. Ultimately, these revelations prompted the researchers from this most recent study to deem alcohol as “not useful” as a sleep aid.

Don’t Self-medicate

Since they are desperate to attain some level of quality of sleep, many insomniacs will try anything. Unfortunately, this causes many to fall back on alcoholic beverages to help make them feel drowsy at night. Research suggests that this is a bad idea for everyone; however, for people who have sleep apnea, it’s especially pointless.

Since it causes intermittent breathing difficulties, this dangerous disorder cannot be alleviated by medications, herbs or alcohol. Instead, sleep apneics need an effective sleep apnea treatment that will promote clear breathing by adjusting the jaw to provide a clear airway. To learn how an oral sleep appliance can allow you to sleep well each and every night, contact Dr. Roubal's office today.

Related article: https://news.discovery.com/human/health/does-drinking-lead-to-better-sleep-130122.htm