In a study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, scientists say women’s sleep is more easily disrupted by alcohol than men’s.
Ninety-three subjects were given either a placebo or enough alcohol so that their BAL was .11 (most states consider .08 to be legally impaired), then monitored as they slept. Women reported feeling more tired before they went to bed than men did, and woke up more often during the night and stayed awake for more minutes, says Damaris J. Rohsenow, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors.
Interestingly, the women did not report feeling sleepier than the men did after their night of tossing and turning. ‘They had worse sleep quality, but didn’t notice,’ says Rohsenow, an associate director at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University.
When scientists did eventually begin to delve into the differences between men and women when it comes to drinking, they found some interesting differences.
First, even when a man and a woman weigh exactly the same amount, a woman only needs 90 percent of what a man consumes to achieve the same blood alcohol level. (How drunk the woman will feel compared to the man depends on her individual tolerance.) The exact reason why this happens is unknown, but it may be because women have less body water. Women also have significantly fewer stomach enzymes that facilitate the breakdown of alcohol than men, which means that ‘more unmetabolized pure ethanol is going into the organs,’ says Epstein.