Think alcohol isn’t affecting your sleep?  Think again.

Last week marked the beginning of a poster campaign within the residence halls regarding substance use.   Our goal is to educate students on the impact of substance use in various aspects of their lives to assist them in making informed decisions.

Although alcohol can serve as a sedative and can induce initial stages of falling asleep, it is also believed to contribute to overall poor sleep quality.  Sleep cycles typically last 90-120 minutes and studies have shown that alcohol can disrupt the second phase of sleep.  In fact, alcohol use before bed can reduce rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which is typically associated with the deep, dreaming phase of our sleep cycle.  REM sleep is also thought to assist with learning retention and memory organization.  This means that even if you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, alcohol induced sleep can still leave you feeling fatigued and disoriented the following day

So, the next time you are feeling tired and irritated, it might be helpful to take a look at your pattern of alcohol consumption and remember that with sleep, quality is key!

-Alison Cofrancesco, M.Ed.
University Counseling Center 

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