Alcohol may help you fall asleep but it leads to a disrupted night’s rest, a new study has claimed.

Drinking was found to increase tiredness by reducing the length of time in deep sleep, which is important in allowing the body and mind to relax.

Irshaad Ebrahim, of the London Sleep Centre and co-author of the report, found the higher the consumption of alcohol the less deep — or Rapid eye movement (REM) — sleep takes place.

Lack of proper sleep can have a detrimental effect on concentration, motor skills and memory.

Ebrahim said he hoped the research would help people understand that short-term alcohol use only gives the impression of improving sleep and should not be used as a sleep aid, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

“Alcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night’s sleep,” Researcher Chris Idzikowski, of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, added.

“Sleep may be deeper to start with, but then becomes disrupted. Additionally, that deeper sleep will probably promote snoring and poorer breathing. So, one shouldn’t expect better sleep with alcohol,” Idzikowski said.

The research found that at all dosages, alcohol brings on sleep quicker, but leads to an increase in sleep disruption in the second half of sleep.

“This review confirms that the immediate and short-term impact of alcohol is to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep,” Ebrahim said.

“In addition, the higher the dose, the greater the impact on increasing deep sleep. This effect on the first half of sleep may be partly the reason some people with insomnia use alcohol as a sleep aid,” Ebrahim added.

“However, the effect of consolidating sleep in the first half of the night is offset by having more disrupted sleep in the second half of the night,” he said.

The study will be published in the journal 'Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research'.

(This article was published on January 23, 2013)
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