Just Two Glasses of Wine Could Hurt Sleep, Study Says

We hate the be the bearer of bad news, but a new study has discovered a link between wine consumption and sleep quality. The findings? Two glasses of wine could negatively impact people’s quality of sleep by almost 40 percent.

So you might be thinking: Okay, I’ll just have one glass then! Unfortunately, the study went even further, uncovering that “moderate alcohol consumption,” aka two drinks a day for men and one for women, reduces our sleep quality by 24 percent. Low alcohol intake, so not even half a glass, could negatively impact our sleep by 9.3 percent. The study also looked at gender, people who were younger, and those who were physically active, only to find that those things did not protect against bad sleep either.

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The study specifically looked at how alcohol impacted the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is closely linked to relaxation and how well we sleep. Researchers examined 4,098 Finnish adults, between the ages of 18 and 65 years old. They were split into three groups: one group was the “low alcohol intake” group, another was the “moderate alcohol intake group,” and the last was the “high alcohol intake group.” They each wore heart-rate variability measuring devices for two nights — one night they had their prescribed amount of wine, and the other night they did not.

The results showed that alcohol at all consumptions affected their cardiovascular relaxation during sleep, and just got worse as more drinks were consumed.

Study co-author Professor Tero Myllymäki, from Tampere University of Technology, Finland, explains:

“When you’re physically active, or younger, it’s easy, natural even, to feel like you’re invincible. However, the evidence shows that despite being young and active you’re still susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol on recovery when you are asleep.”

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While the study might be disheartening for some, it shouldn’t be surprising. This study is among many that link alcohol to poor sleep, affecting both quality and quantity. For example, a 2013 review of 27 studies found that while alcohol might reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, this is offset by an increasing number sleep disturbances in the second half of the night, including a lack of deep sleep

So take this news as you will, but if you’re having trouble sleeping, or simply trying to sleep better, it might be a good idea to put away the booze.

Laura Schwecherl

Laura is a journalist with nearly a decade of experience reporting and covering topics in the health, fitness, and wellness space. She is also a marketing consultant, where she works with impact-oriented startups to build marketing and editorial strategies. Outside of work, you can find her reading Murakami novels, writing amateur poetry, or trail running in her hometown, Boulder, Colorado.

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