Alcoholic drinks affect the quality of sleep

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 23.04.2024

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03 February 2022, 09:00

Most people after drinking alcohol note that they soon begin to feel sleepy. In addition, statistics inform that many practice the use of a certain dose of alcohol to improve falling asleep. Alcohol may indeed promote good sleep, but are there other side effects as well? Employees of the American National Sleep Foundation (National Sleep Foundation) tried to figure out this issue.

The effective effect of alcoholic beverages is due to slow fluctuations in sleep - the so-called delta brain activity, which is more pronounced during deep sleep. But under the influence of alcohol, another activity continues its work - alpha activity, which negatively affects the tranquility of rest. Thus, when a person goes to bed after drinking alcohol, his brain continues to be in an active state, and the expected rest does not occur.

Despite the fact that people fall asleep quite quickly while drinking alcohol, they often wake up before morning. This effect is due to increased accumulation in the brain structures of adenosine, a nucleoside that plays an important role in biochemical processes, and in particular, in the transmission of energy and signals. This substance inhibits the release of neurotransmitters - chemical compounds that transmit nerve signals between nerve cells, which is its calming effect on the body. Without adenosine, neurons continue to fire. However, its action stops even before the moment when a person has enough rest and sleep. Therefore, sleep becomes insufficient, and the brain, and the whole body, as a result, does not rest enough.

Another adverse effect of alcohol is the complete relaxation of the body, which also affects the throat muscles. Relaxed muscles provoke the appearance of snoring and apnea - suspension of breathing, peculiar periods of calm, which have an extremely negative effect on the body: health suffers in the morning, headaches and daytime sleepiness appear, memory and attention are disturbed. During sleep apnea, the brain receives signals about a decrease in the level of oxygen in the blood. As a result, a person wakes up in the middle of the night, his pressure may increase, the risk of an angina pectoris attack or acute cerebrovascular accident increases. At the same time, tissues against the background of oxygen deficiency acquire immunity to insulin, a hormonal substance that controls the level of glucose in the body. These processes lead to the fact that a person during the day will feel a breakdown.

Remarkably, the more often a person uses alcohol to fall asleep, the more severe and adverse the health consequences will be. In most cases, to correct the process of falling asleep, it is enough to come to a healthy lifestyle, normalize body weight, and stop drinking alcohol.

More information on the  sleepfoundation website

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