The Effects of Alcohol on Sleep

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The Effects of Alcohol on Sleep Many people usually associate alcohol with sleep and sleepiness. However, the effects of alcohol on sleep are mostly negative ones, and these two things should not be interrelated at all. In order to understand how these two things are related, one must explore the depths of two different topics: alcohol and sleep. With this knowledge, one can begin to understand how alcohol and sleep are related and what effects alcohol has on sleep. Sleep is a very active process, just like consciousness. Sleep is controlled largely by nerve centers in the lower brain stem, where the base of the brain joins the spinal cord. It is here where certain nerve cells produce chemicals, which control and regulate the two alternating states of sleep: Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM) and Slow Wave Sleep (SWS). REM sleep is sleep where the eyes move very rapidly. This type of sleep occurs periodically (about every 90 minutes), and occupies about 25% of sleep time. The chemical that is produced that controls REM sleep is norepinephrine, which helps regulate REM sleep and facilitates arousal in sleep. SWS sleep is a more deep, restful sleep, and is called this because the brain waves move very slowly. This sleep occurs throughout 70% of a person’s sleeping time. SWS sleep is usually associated with dreaming. Serotonin is the chemical messenger associated with sleep onset and with the regulation of SWS. The exact roles and interactions of these and other chemical messengers in orchestrating sleep patterns are not known. Significantly, however, alcohol consumption affects the function of these and other chemical messengers that appear to influence sleep. The average adult sleeps 7.5 to 8 hours every night. Although the func... ... middle of paper ... ...haracteristics Use of Alcohol and Illicit Drugs, Psychosocial Well-Being, Health Status. London, 1998. Vaughan, Christopher and Dement, William C. Promise Of Sleep: Pioneer In Sleep Medicine Explores The Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, And A Good Night's Sleep. Delacorte; Canada, 1998. Desperately Seeking Snoozin? Successful Meetings. Philadelphia. September 1999. Proquest. Hoffstein, Victor and Linde, Shirley. No More Snoring. John Wiley & Sons, Inc: Canada, 1999. Web Sources:…/sleep.htm Encyclopedia Sources: Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000, version Microsoft, 1993.
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