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Drinkers unaware alcohol causes sleep problems

[Posted: Wed 19/08/2009 by Olivia Fens www.irishhealth.com]

Many drinkers are unaware that dozing off after a couple of glasses of wine or passing out after a night of heavy drinking is not the start of a deep sleep, according to a new survey.

In the poll of almost 2,000 drinkers, more than half did not realise that drinking above the recommended daily limits could cause sleep problems, with more men (63%) than women (53%) unaware of the link.

Almost half of those surveyed admitted to experiencing tiredness the day after drinking over the recommended daily limits, but it seemed that many did not realise that this could be due to alcohol interfering with their normal sleep.

According to experts, alcohol stops the brain from releasing vasopressin, a chemical that regulates the amount of water in the body. Without this chemical, drinkers need more trips to the toilet.

Alcohol also encourages too much water to be flushed out of the body, which leads to dehydration and can cause headaches that can prevent sleep.

Furthermore, alcohol disrupts the sleep stage known as ‘REM’, which is thought to be essential for deep, restful sleep.

The survey was published by YouGov.

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