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A Poor Night’s Sleep Linked to Increased Alcohol Consumption

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

Remember when you were a kid and nothing seemed worse than having to go to bed when it seemed like there was still fun stuff going on? Then you hit adolescence and while you probably didn’t go to bed at decent hours all the time, you made up for it by lounging in bed the next morning.

By the time you left college and entered the workplace, you had developed your own sleeping pattern – what time to bed and what time to rise. Now, a new study found in the research publication Appetite suggests that there is good reason to take mom’s advice and get to bed on time.

The large scale study tracked the sleeping and drinking habits of 700 adults. Each person was asked to record his/her hours of sleep each night along with the number of drinks imbibed. The study found that the less sleep a person received, the greater the amount of alcohol he/she consumed. Heavy drinking seemed to be most common among the people who got the least amount of sleep. Men who slept under six hours per night were the most apt to drink heavily.

A health blog discussing the study raises important questions that this research does not address. Questions like: Does heavy drinking limit a person’s ability to sleep soundly and thereby get adequate sleep? or Does choosing not to keep regular bedtime hours promote poor drinking choices? Furthermore, what other influences could be affecting sleeping and drinking patterns?

Regardless of other potential factors, the sheer size of this study highlights that something important connects sleeping and drinking patterns. Insufficient sleep is also linked to higher stress levels, greater appetite and greater weight gains. Experts say that seven to nine hours of shut-eye is optimal for all of us.