According to a new study, drinking alcohol or smoking before bed can cause more trouble to sleep than drinking coffee. The study, conducted by researchers at Florida Atlantic University used sensors and daily sleep diaries to track 785 people’s sleep across 5,164 days and nights. They not only analyzed the hours of sleep each person managed, they also tracked the quality of sleep, plus how much alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine the people consumed within four hours before going to bed.
The researchers found that drinking alcohol or smoking within four hours of bedtime had a negative effect on sleep. They saw that even though alcohol may help a person drift off to sleep, the sleep was more disrupted after drinking or smoking and led to lower quality rest and a feeling of fatigue the next morning.
The study experts found that smoking was the substance that was most strongly associated with sleep disruption and among people with insomnia, regular nicotine use at night was linked to an average 42 minute reduction in sleep duration.