NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Don't bet on drinking a glass of wine or two to help you sleep. A large observational study found that drinking before sleep might do the opposite.
"Alcohol intake disturbs cardiovascular relaxation during sleep in a dose-dependent manner in both genders," the researchers wrote. The study participants experienced "insufficient recovery" because of a reduction in deep, restful sleep.
"[Alcohol] changes the sleep architecture. Alcohol decreases your ability to get into your Stage-4 restorative sleep," Dr. Lerri Peterson of Lenox Hill Hospital told Fox 5. "It keeps you in your REM sleep longer, which is your dreamlike sleep, and that's not restorative."
The study also found that being young or physically active don't appear to protect people from these effects.
Researchers looked at data from 4,098 adults 18 to 65 in Finland who wore a special device to record their heart-rate variability in real-world conditions. The devices registered data on a night the subjects drank alcohol before sleep and a night they abstained.
Poor sleep quality is linked to a host of health problems, including anxiety, depression, and weight gain.