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Sleep Disorders

16 August 2011

Don't drink alcohol before going to sleep

You might want to take a pass on that nightcap, a new study suggests. Japanese researchers report that alcohol hinders the restorative functions of sleep.

You might want to take a pass on that nightcap, a new study suggests. Japanese researchers report that alcohol hinders the restorative functions of sleep.

Normally, as people sleep through the night, "the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for 'rest-and-digest' activities, is dominant over the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for stimulating activities," Yohei Sagawa, a physician in the department of neuropsychiatry at the Akita University School of Medicine, explained. "We wanted to investigate how alcohol may change this complementary relationship."

 

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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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