Q: A comment on the previous post posed the question “does alcohol affect sleep”?
A: Yes, it does.
For example, a study just published in March compared the effects of bourbon, vodka, and placebo (a non-alcoholic drink) on sleep, hangover, and next-day cognitive performance. The investigators had people drink to achieve a breath alcohol level of 0.10% (the legal limit for driving in most states is 0.08%). They found that both types of alcohol significantly decreased the percent of time that people slept and the amount of time they spent in REM sleep (the stage of sleep during which we dream), and increased the amount of time spent awake after having fallen asleep and the amount of next-day sleepiness.
So, even though people reported having a greater hangover after drinking Wild Turkey compared to Absolut (participants did not know what they were drinking at the time), the effects of both types of alcohol were the same – alcohol disrupts normal sleep.