10. May, 2018

Is your evening tipple affecting the quality of your sleep?

A new Finnish study on 4000 men & women aged 18-65 has shown a relationship between alcohol intake and quality of sleep. 

Alcohol intake was calculated using the participant's weight & broken down into low (≤0.25g/kg), moderate (>0.25-0.75g/kg) and high (>0.75g/kg).

The study compared participant's heart rate variability during a night's sleep after alcohol intake vs without.

What they found was that alcohol disturbs cardiovascular relaxation in both genders, and the higher the intake, the more pronounced the effect (this is said to be "in a dose-dependent manner").

Low intake decreases the healing sleep usually provides the human body by 9.3%, moderate by 24%, and high (eg. 2 glasses of wine with dinner) by just over 39%. The effect was more noticeable among younger people and surprisingly, being physically active made no difference. 

The take home message of this study: Just hitting the gym or going for a run isn't going to improve the quality of your sleep if you don't cut down your alcohol intake.

Reference

Pietilä J, Helander E, Korhonen I, Myllymäki T, Kujala UM, Lindholm H 2018, 'Acute Effect of Alcohol Intake on Cardiovascular Autonomic Regulation During the First Hours of Sleep in a Large Real-World Sample of Finnish Employees: Observational Study', JMIR Ment Health, vol.5, no. 1, e23, <http://mental.jmir.org/2018/1/e23>