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New findings explain why, if you’re sensitive to alcohol, you’re probably sensitive to sleep deprivation too

21 August 2018

The last time you and your class-mates or co-workers pulled an all-nighter before a deadline, you may have noticed: there are always those lucky individuals who seem to do just fine after a lack of sleep, while others feel drowsy and confused – almost like they had too much to drink. 

New research conducted at the German Aerospace Center suggests this could be because alcohol intoxication and sleep deprivation are more similar than we once thought.

In their study published recently in PNAS, Eva-Maria Elmenhorst and David Elmenhorst and their colleagues show how both affect us via a shared mechanism. And what’s more, if you’re sensitive to one, you’re likely to cope poorly with the other as well.

The researchers tested the ability of 49 healthy volunteers to sustain their attention over a long period of time. The tests took place on four different days, under different conditions: baseline, after drinking alcohol, and after either partial or full sleep deprivation.

Read more in a post from guest blogger Julia Gottwald on our Research Digest blog.


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