Good news for coffee fans, bad news for anyone who likes a boozy nightcap.
New research says that drinking alcohol or smoking before bed can wreck your sleep – more so than drinking coffee.
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University used sensors and daily sleep diaries to track 785 people’s sleep across 5,164 days and nights. As well as analysing the hours of sleep each person managed, they also tracked the quality of their sleep, plus how much alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine they consumed within four hours before going to bed.
They found that drinking alcohol or smoking within four hours of bedtime had a negative effect on sleep.
While booze might make it easier to drift off, sleep was more disrupted after drinking or smoking, meaning lower quality rest and feeling tired in the morning.
Smoking was the substance most strongly associated with sleep disruption. Researchers found that among people with insomnia, nightly nicotine use was linked to an average 42 minute reduction in sleep duration.
But what’s interesting is that the researchers found no impact on sleep from consuming caffeine within four hours of bedtime.
Before you go chugging espressos, though, the study authors do warn that individual variations in caffeine sensitivity and tolerance weren’t able to be measured. Essentially, you could be more sensitive to caffeine than the participants in the study, which could result in lost sleep if you have even a sip of caffeine close to bed.
You’ll know best, basically. If you toss and turn on a day you’ve had coffee, that’s likely an indication that it’s not wise for you to have caffeine close to bedtime.
But if you are struggling with sleep and wandering around in a permanent state of exhaustion, it might be worth ditching the alcohol and smoking along with the caffeine hit.
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