The London Sleep Centre team says while alcohol-fuelled sleep can cut the time it takes to nod off it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the satisfying stage of sleep where dreams occur.

In increasing doses, the effect of alcohol can be even more disruptive. It can turn non-snorers into snorers, says Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director at the London Sleep Centre and co-author of the latest review, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. And it can also turn snorers into people with sleep apnoea, a condition where breathing is interrupted.

If you must drink and to avoid a less restful sleep, Dr Irshaad suggests it's best to have it an hour and a half to two hours before going to bed so the alcohol is already wearing off. He and his team also advise against nursing homes and hospital wards that have even been known to serve alcohol.

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