Energy drinks are creating a generation of insomniacs with just a few cans a week triggering poorer sleep, research suggests.

A study found that those aged 18 to 35 who consumed the drinks every day slept around half an hour less than those drinking them occasionally or not at all.

The more a person drank, the fewer hours of shut-eye a night they had – leading to daytime tiredness, according to the research.

Among men, having two or three drinks a week meant they were 35 per cent more likely to have a bedtime after midnight, 52 per cent more likely to sleep less than six hours, and 60 per cent more likely to wake in the night than those who did not or rarely drank them.

For women, they were 20 per cent more likely to have a bedtime after midnight, 58 per cent more likely to sleep less than six hours, and 24 per cent more likely to wake in the night.

Energy drinks usually contain high levels of caffeine and sugar (stock image)

Energy drinks usually contain high levels of caffeine and sugar (stock image)

A study found that those aged 18 to 35 who consumed the drinks every day slept around half an hour less than those drinking them occasionally or not at all (stock image)

A study found that those aged 18 to 35 who consumed the drinks every day slept around half an hour less than those drinking them occasionally or not at all (stock image)

It comes after a study published last week said the sale of all energy drinks to young people and children in the UK should be banned because of links with anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts. 

Energy drinks usually contain high levels of caffeine and sugar.

The Government has consulted on a proposal to end their sale to under-16s in England. 

Some larger retailers and supermarkets have voluntarily introduced a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under-16s. The latest study was published in BMJ Open and based on 53,266 Norwegian students.

They were asked how often they had energy drinks. They were also questioned about their sleep patterns, such as when they went to bed and got up, how long it took them to fall asleep and if they woke in the night.

Insomnia was defined as problems falling and staying asleep and waking early on at least three nights a week, plus daytime tiredness for at least three days a week, for at least three months. 

The experts came from across Norway, including the universities of Bergen and Oslo.

Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: ‘As the authors themselves acknowledge, this is an observational study that does not prove cause.’

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