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Alcohol or Cigarette could Affect Sleep more than Coffee, finds Study

  08 Aug 2019        Health
Alcohol or Cigarette could Affect Sleep more than Coffee, finds Study


According to an American study, consuming alcohol or smoking cigarette before going to bed could be more closely associated with sleep disruption than drinking coffee or tea.

According to a study by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Florida Atlantic University, nicotine or alcohol could disrupt sleep more than caffeine, if consumed before bedtime. The US researchers monitored nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine consumption of more than 750 participants for over 5,000 nights and days. The consumption was then compared to results gathered from wrist sensors and sleep diaries, which recorded how quickly the participants woke up after falling asleep, their sleep efficiency, and their sleep duration.

After comparing all the results, the researchers found that smoking a pre-bed cigarette reduced the total sleep duration for insomniacs by over 40 minutes. While consuming caffeine seemed to have zero effect, alcohol and nicotine were found to cause sleep disruption. The researchers shared their findings in the journal Sleep.

“Taking into consideration the widespread use of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol and the public health importance of getting quality sleep, comparatively, few researches have thoroughly investigated the relation between sleep parameters and use of evening substance,” said Florida Atlantic University’s Dr. Christine Spadola.

Nicotine was found to be most strongly linked to sleep disruption

“This research represents one of the biggest longitudinal examinations of the relations between objectively measured sleep outcomes and evening use of nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. Compared to a night without the use of nicotine and/or alcohol within four hours of bedtime, a night with the use showed worse sleep continuity,” said Spadola.

During the period of the study, approximately 40% of the participants had caffeine at for a minimum of one night. Spadola said that the study supports the significance of sleep health recommendations, which usually include avoiding the use of alcohol and nicotine in evening.

“Our researchers didn’t observe a relation between any of the sleep parameters and caffeine ingestion within four hours of bedtime. This was a surprise for our researchers but isn’t unprecedented. When it comes to caffeine effect on sleep, the earlier evidence is mixed,” added Spadola.

In the study, sleep disruption was very strongly associated with nicotine among other substances. In terms of sleep duration, insomnia and evening nicotine use showed a statistically heavy interaction. According to the CDC, tobacco, which includes nicotine, causes over 7 million deaths each year around the globe. Earlier studies have linked obstructive sleep apnea, lighter sleep, and trouble falling asleep with nicotine use.