The Drunk & the Restless
Women Experience Worse Sleep After Drinking than Men
Maybe it's time to reconsider that nightcap. As Health.com reports, the common misperception that alcohol helps you sleep was put to the test by researchers in the behavioral sleep medicine program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The study found that women, significantly more so than men, suffered from poor sleep after a night of drinking. (Is it because we suffer more regret?)
In a sleep lab, the researchers compared the sleep patterns of men and women in their twenties after a night of drinking and a night of no drinking (bet it was hard to find test subjects for this study, eh?). On the night of drinking, the subjects drank until their Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) reached 0.1, a level of visible drunkenness. The participants then went to bed for eight hours, during which time research technicians monitored their brain waves, eye movement, and other measures of sleep quality. The next morning, the subjects had to rate how soundly they slept. The researchers then repeated the tests on the subjects, but this time gave them drinks containing only a few drops of alcohol before they soberly went to bed.
The researchers found that men slept just as well with alcohol in their system as they did without, while women slept 20 minutes less on average. Additionally, women woke up in the middle of the night more often and were awake for a longer time after drinking alcohol. Both the men and women, however, reported feeling like they had slept less soundly after drinking.
The researchers don't know the reason for this gender difference, but it could be due to the fact that women metabolize alcohol very differently than men. And, of course we do. We always get the crap end of the stick... well, except men have lower life expectancy. So there.