Drinkers unaware of alcohol link with sleeping problems


Wednesday 26th August, 2009

New research by a Government campaign has revealed that drinkers in England are unaware of the effects booze can have on sleep and vital brain function.

The ‘Know Your Limits’ campaign survey by YouGov found that 58% of the 2,000 participants didn’t realise that drinking more than the recommended daily limit of alcohol can cause sleep problems. Of those people who were unaware, 63% were men and 53% women.

Nearly half (45%) of everyone surveyed admitted to experiencing tiredness the day after consuming more than their recommended limit but many were unaware they felt this way because of alcohol interfering with their normal sleep pattern.

Drinking too much alcohol can disrupt sleep and leave the body dehydrated. Excessive alcohol consumption also puts long-term health at risk with the possibility of liver disease, stroke or cancer.

Alcohol impacts on sleep by preventing the brain from releasing a chemical which regulates the amount of water in the body. Alcohol can waken you from sleep as the body attempts to flush water from the body leading to dehydration. This places a strain on the body and contributes to the headache you get after drinking heavily. Headache pain is in fact coming from the lining of the skull and not the brain itself. The brain has no pain receptors.

A few glasses of wine or a heavy drinking session does induce a deep sleep. Drinking before bed disrupts the quality of sleep the body needs, encourages dehydration and alters blood pressure in the brain.

The recommended daily limit for alcohol consumption is 2-3 units per day for women (equal to a large 250ml glass of wine of 12% or 3 units) and 3-4 units per day for men (equal to one pint of beer of 5.2% or 3 units). Ten million adults are thought to regularly exceed these limits in England.

If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep and rely on alcohol read our ‘how to get a good night’s sleep‘ article.

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