Is Booze Messing Up Your Sleep?

Think a glass of wine before bed might help you unwind as you head to the hinterlands of unconscious, dream-filled bliss? Think again: a new study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research reinforces previous research that suggested alcohol actually disturbs sleep.

While the study was small — just 24 participants — it focused on 18- to 21-year-olds, or college kids. And college, in case you didn't know, is often a place where alcohol consumption is facilitated and even socially encouraged.

Researchers found that not only was sleep quality disturbed, but daytime functioning was reduced in subjects who had an average blood alcohol content of about .08% at lights out, which is just over the legal driving limit in most states. So you don't need to be totally wasted for booze to wreak havoc on your sleep!

While you may be tempted to file this under "news you already knew," it's an important reminder that abstaining can have some pretty nice benefits. Alcohol is, for some people, a pleasant drug that augments relaxation and makes social interactions more pleasant. There's even a body of scientific research that suggests moderate drinking may be beneficial to long-term health — just try to avoid going overboard!

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