In a new study, researchers examined how caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine could affect people’s sleep at night.
They found that drinking coffee within four hours of bedtime was not linked to sleep loss.
But the use of nicotine and/or alcohol within four hours of bedtime was linked to bad sleep quality.
The research was led by Florida Atlantic University.
Between 50 to 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder.
Sleepless nights are linked to a number of diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Evening use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine are believed to sabotage sleep.
In the study, the team examined 785 participants and totaled 5,164 days of concurrent actigraphy (wrist-watch-like sensor) and daily sleep diaries that recorded how much alcohol, caffeine or nicotine they consumed within four hours of bedtime.
The team examined the night-to-night associations of evening use of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine on sleep duration, sleep efficiency and wake after sleep onset.
They did not find a link between the consumption of caffeine within four hours of bedtime with any of the sleep parameters.
For smokers and those who enjoy “Happy Hour” or an alcoholic beverage with dinner, the team shows that night with the use of nicotine and/or alcohol within four hours of bedtime demonstrated worse sleep continuity than a night without these substances.
In addition, nicotine was the substance most strongly associated with sleep disruption and yet another reason to quit smoking.
Among people with insomnia, nightly nicotine use was linked to an average 42.47-minute reduction in sleep duration.
The team says caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are substances commonly used. The current findings provide important information about their impacts on a good night’s sleep.
These findings support the importance of sleep health recommendations that promote the restriction of evening alcohol and nicotine use to improve sleep continuity.
The lead author of the study is Christine E. Spadola, Ph.D., lead author and an assistant professor in FAU.
The study is published in Sleep.
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