Drinking alcohol may make you feel sleepy but don’t count on it to help you get a good night’s rest.
When you wake up in the middle of the night it might be because you drank too much before going to bed. This is especially true for women who metabolize alcohol differently than men.
Indeed, a University of Michigan study – funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – shows that women sleep less and wake up more often when they have been drinking compared to men who had the same amount of alcohol in their system.
During the study, women and men volunteers drank alcoholic drinks until their blood alcohol level reached .10, an amount where most people feel drunk. Then they tried to sleep for eight hours at a sleep lab so researchers could record their brain waves and eye movement.
In the morning, most of the men and women felt they didn’t sleep as well. But women suffered greater loss of sleep.
This may be due to the difference in how alcohol leaves a woman’s body. Women retain more alcohol in their blood compared to men because their bodies break it down more slowly, according to NIAAA health officials.
If getting better sleep isn’t enough of an incentive to reduce drinking at night, consider this: women who drink are more likely to develop liver inflammation, according to the NIAAA website. Heavy drinking can cause heart disease. Just one drink per day increases a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer by 10 percent.
Sources: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research journal