Whether you enjoy a glass with dinner or pour one to relax after a stressful day at work, wine is an exceedingly popular nighttime elixir. But as it turns out, its ability to make us relax and eventually doze off might not actually work. According to a new study conducted by the Sleep Research Society and published by Oxford University Press, drinking a glass of wine four hours before bed can seriously disrupt your sleep.
And that’s not the most shocking part. The participants—785 African-American adults with an average age of 63—consumed nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine before bed (all separately) and documented sleep duration, sleep efficiency (the amount of time asleep, divided by total time spent in bed), and the frequency at which they woke up in the night. Alcohol was linked to lower sleep efficiency, and nicotine with lower sleep efficiency and wake-up frequency. But that cup of coffee merely four hours before bed? It didn’t have an effect at all.
Of course, with such a small and specific sample size, these findings are hardly enough to overhaul your nightly routine, but if you’d like to consider this an excuse for that post-dinner cappuccino, go ahead. Maybe just hold the wine if you want to get a good night’s rest—or try one of these tips to help you hit the hay.