Drinking Alcohol Before Bed Is Ruining Your Sleep

December 17, 2014 1:17 PM

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Fact: What works for you might not work for your neighbor. "A person's sleep need is genetically pre-determined," says Michael Decker, Ph.D., associated professor at Georgia State University and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Some people need a little bit more, and some need a little bit less." So how do you know how much you need? One tell-tale sign you're not getting enough is falling asleep as soon as you get into bed, says Robert Oexman, D.C., director of the Sleep to Live Institute. "It's very common that people tell me, 'I'm a great sleeper, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow,'" he says. "That's a sign that you're probably not getting enough sleep." Drifting off should take around 15 minutes if you're regularly fulfilling your sleep needs, he says. And if you wake up feeling refreshed and energetic? You're doing something right, says Decker. However, the people who say they're fine with just six hours of sleep a night are likely setting themselves up for future problems. Research suggests that consistently sleeping fewer than six hours a night can increase stroke and diabetes risk, damage bones and hurt the heart, among other scary side effects.

Fact: There is such a thing as too much sleep, believe it or not. Just like people who regularly sleep fewer than six hours a night, people who consistently clock more than nine or 10 hours a night also face a number of health problems, says Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D., an instructor of psychiatry an...

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