MILAN – A research published in the journal Sleep suggests that to get a good night’s rest, you should cut back on nicotine and alcohol, and not necessarily caffeine, four hours before bed.
The study – led by a researcher at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), with help from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University, Emory University, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and the National Institutes of Health — focused on the evening consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine among 785 African-Americans over a combined 5,164 days.
Researchers measured their corresponding sleep using wristwatch-like sensors and participants’ daily entries into sleep diaries.
Researchers say their data showed that people who used nicotine and alcohol within four hours of going to bed felt the largest impact on their sleep cycle, even when controlling for age, gender, stress, and other factors.
Nicotine was particularly harsh on people with insomnia. Using nicotine at night resulted in a more than 40-minute reduction in overall sleep.
The study authors note that because nicotine was the most commonly used substance that kept people up at night, it was yet another reason for people to quit this unhealthy habit. That includes smoking, vaping, dipping, and all the other ways nicotine can be ingested.
The researchers, however, found little correlation between coffee consumption within four hours of going to bed and sleep difficulties.
Researchers did warn that dosing, sensitivity, and tolerance weren’t measured and “can play an important role in the association between caffeine use and sleep.”