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Put Down The Glass: Drinking Alcohol Before Bed Could Ruin Your Sleep

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Relaxing with a class of whiskey or red wine before bed might calm your mind, but it’ll ruin your sleep.

Recent research shows alcohol helps you get those Zs quickly, but the resulting snooze is anything but high-quality.

A new study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, examined the brain activity of 24 college-aged “social drinkers” on nights where they did and did not indulge before sleep.

The 18- to 21-year-olds who drank vodka and orange juice before bedtime showed an initial increase in Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) powered by delta waves, which scientists believe to be key to restorative sleep.

But, electroencephalogram recordings also showed a parallel increase in frontal alpha power, which is often present in those suffering from chronic pain and indicates low-quality rest.

Julia Chan, the study’s co-author, told TIME,

When you see alpha activity alongside delta activity during sleep, it suggests there might be some kind of wakefulness influence that could compete with the restorative nature of delta sleep

When the participants, both male and female, drank a placebo version of the cocktail before bed the next night, they slept deeply.

In a statement, Christian L. Nicholas, the secondary author, said,

The take-home message here is that alcohol is not actually a particularly good sleep aid even though it may seem like it helps you get to sleep quicker.

In fact, the quality of the sleep you get is significantly altered and disrupted.

In other words: Blame that hot toddy for the bags underneath your eyes.

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