Alcohol May Disturb Your Sleep and Biological Clock

November 21, 2012 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Alcohol May Disturb Your Sleep and Biological Clock
Many people have a drink or two to relax and calm down from the stressors of the day; this may even assist sleep (at least in the short term). However, a study shows that an increased level of alcohol1 can disrupt your biological clock. Not only does this induce potential serious sleep problems, but it can also throw your entire body out of rhythm (including your immune system).

In this highly controlled animal study, disturbance of the biological clock increased as the amount of alcohol increased. Furthermore, disturbances in the clock continued even after the alcohol was withdrawn.

This study has immediate take-home application for humans. If you have gotten into a pattern of progressively increasing your alcohol intake, and have noticed sleep problems or energy-related problems start up or increase, it is a sure sign that you need to drink less. You may even need to go for a month or two without any alcohol to allow your clock to reset itself and get used to a more normal pattern (it generally takes nerves at least three weeks to rebalance).

If sleep issues are an ongoing problem, try supplementing magnesium glycinate. Other helpful sleep nutrients include l-theanine, lemon balm, taurine, and melatonin.

Besides your sleep, your biological clock runs your immune system's timing, which is vital to efficient function. It is not a good idea to head into a pending flu season with a stressed clock, which is only likely to become more stressed as the length of daylight shortens and temperatures drop.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Alcohol Disrupts Master Clock  Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology  1.Christina L. Ruby, Allison J. Brager, Marc A. DePaul, Rebecca A. Prosser and J. David Glass

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