Alcohol and Sleep Quality

14 May Alcohol and Sleep Quality

Recently Pietila et al published an article in the journal JMIR Mental Health that in part, looked at the effect of alcohol on sleep quality. They looked at real world data, in that the participants were not limited to a laboratory scenario. The researchers used heart rate monitoring to assess sleep quality, with and without alcohol, and differing levels of alcohol on the nights with alcohol intake.

Alcohol intake was considered low, moderate and high based on the participant’s body weight. They then looked at the first three hours of sleep after drinking the alcohol.

Results: Alcohol intake was dose-dependently associated with increased sympathetic regulation, decreased parasympathetic regulation, and insufficient recovery. In addition to moderate and high alcohol doses, the intra-individual effects of alcohol intake on the ANS regulation were observed also with low alcohol intake (all P<.001). HRV-derived physiological recovery state decreased on average by 9.3, 24.0, and 39.2 percentage units with low, moderate, and high alcohol intake, respectively. The effects of alcohol in suppressing recovery were similar for both genders and for physically active and sedentary subjects but stronger among young than older subjects and for participants with lower baseline sleep HR than with higher baseline sleep HR.

Conclusions: Alcohol intake disturbs cardiovascular relaxation during sleep in a dose-dependent manner in both genders. Regular PA or young age do not protect from these effects of alcohol. In health promotion, wearable HR monitoring and HRV-based analysis of recovery might be used to demonstrate the effects of alcohol on sleep on an individual level.

Article originally featured here:

Journal abstract can be found here: