Like many things in life, everything is best in moderation. A few beers on occasion is typically better than a handle of vodka every weekend. 30 minutes of exercise five days per week is likely healthier than four hours a day seven days per week. What’s lesser-known but perhaps just as impactful is the timing of lifestyle habits like these. New research out of the Jackson Heart Study shows that when we partake in certain activities can be a big deal, especially when it comes to sleep.
This 2019 study looked to uncover the relationship between evening use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine in an elderly population and how it impacts participant’s sleep quality across several metrics.
The study utilized wrist actigraphy, a way to track sleep, and asked participants to record their consumption of the alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine anytime it was ingested four hours or closer to bedtime. The study’s aim was to highlight the importance of good sleep hygiene habits, and the evidence is quite clear.
By limiting nicotine intake in general (including vaping, smoking, and dipping) and ensuring you ingest less in the hours leading up to bedtime, you may be saving yourself from a rough night’s sleep. The same can be said about alcohol as the study suggests. Nightcaps may seem like a nice way to finish off a day, but its sleep-promoting effects are only temporary. Experts, however, advise that you don’t quit cold-turkey, as this could lead to other sleep problems.
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