Can sleep and alcohol co-exist?

Drinking alcohol is thought to interfere with a good night’s sleep. But a new survey has found that most adults don’t experience sleep problems due to drinking.

Researchers headed by a team at the University of Missouri analyzed questionnaires from 1,699 adults whose average age was about 50. They found that sleep and alcohol problems were common. More than 22% of those surveyed reported hazardous drinking patterns while almost 48% reported fair or poor overall sleep quality and 7% reported a diagnosis of sleep apnea.

However, further analysis failed to show any association between alcohol use and sleep problems. There was one exception: People who said they used alcohol to get to sleep had a much higher rate of hazardous drinking.

It’s not clear why the study contradicts other studies that show alcohol use disrupts sleep. Other studies, for example, have shown that drinking causes delayed insomnia -- waking in the early-morning hours. And sleep studies conducted in sleep labs also suggest that alcohol is bad for sleep. The study was released Monday in the Annals of Family Medicine.

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