If you had a long and rough day the chances are that you are probably looking forward to a nice nightcap and night of peaceful dreams. However, there is a link between alcohol and sleep that often leads, from moderate to large sleep disruptions.
Alcohol And Sleep
It is known that alcohol has a set of different effects on everyone. To some, it works as a sleeping aid, while for others it brings anxiety and restless nights, including some restless health conditions. However, less is known that even people who claim that alcohol helps them sleep better are not experiencing a proper night of sleep.
Furthermore, drinking alcohol on a daily basis can affect the quality of anyone sleep creating the feeling of tiredness and unresponsiveness. Simply said, drinking disrupts your sleep cycle in many ways.
The main reason why some people strongly believe that drinking alcohol before bed is good for them lies in the fact that after drinking they fall into deep sleep quicker. Although thats not necessarily the case. But, still, it’s the main reason why some people choose it as the number one drop-off to sleep.
Good to know: As the night goes on you spend more time in deep sleep and far less time in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.
This can leave you feeling extremely tired the following day no matter how long you stay in bed to restart. On the other hand, having an alcohol-free day can help beyond anything else. That should boost your sleep and you should be able to wake up easier in the morning.
What Alcohol Does While You Sleep?
You may think that nothing happens in your body while you are sleeping. However, the truth is entirely different. Your organism works 24/7, and the human body is not considered to be ‘perfect machine’ without science-backed reasons.
Therefore, even when you are sleeping your body is working, protecting you, and preparing you for the following day. However, if you feed your body with bad food or bad drinks it will work differently, mostly slowly.
Direct Alcohol Effects On Your Sleep
- Colorful nightmares and dreams: When you have alcohol in your system, you’re more likely to have vivid nightmares and dreams.
- Breathing problems: One of the biggest problems that are connected with alcohol are related to the sedative effects that extend to the rest of the body. Alcohol relaxes the muscles.
In addition, it basically allows your airway to close more easily. So, it increases the risk of sleep apnea, or worsens it.
- Opiates: This is a no brainer, but it must be said. If you are using any medication, including pain killers and narcotics you should avoid alcohol.
Also, you should be well aware of how you are putting yourself into danger by drinking alcohol. Especially before you go to sleep. A combo of alcohol and opiates can trigger central sleep apnea, a well spread condition where your brain fails to signal your lungs to breathe.
- Interrupts your circadian rhythm: As easy as you fall asleep after a night cup, you can end up waking up all night. The main reason for these actions is that alcohol may affect the standard production of chemicals in the body that trigger sleepiness when you have been awake for a long time.
Also, after drinking, you sleep-inducing chemical in the brain called adenosine increases. By increasing it allows you to fall asleep faster.
But, this chemical goes down as quickly as it came, making you more likely to wake up before you are truly rested and fresh.
- Leads to extra bathroom trips: Generally, your body knows that night is time for sleep. For your body sleep means that you are about to spend a few hours being still. Also, it means that the night is not the time for frequent bathroom visits.
Therefore, your body has learned to put your bladder into hibernation for the night. But, alcohol works as a diuretic, and it makes you to run to the bathroom more than necessary. By doing so your natural and normal sleep pattern is interrupted.
Can Beer Help You Sleep?
Truthfully speaking, alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it doesn’t mean that you should be drinking on a regular basis. Alcohol is a sedative. Therefore, a glass of beer or wine can put you to sleep.
However, this doesn’t mean that you will have a good sleep cycle. Having a beer before your sleep can lead to often bathroom visits during the night and frequent waking up. Also, according to some finding’s alcohol creates more sleep disturbances in women.
Overall, alcohol can reduce the general benefits of your sleep. All in, drinking a beer before you go to sleep may lead to faster sleep, but you will wake up mentally exhausted. And this is why you should avoid having beer hours before you go to sleep.
Can Alcohol Keep You Awake At Night?
People mostly know that alcohol is not good for them or their sleep. Regardless of that fact they tend to drink alcohol often. During the day, as well as in the night.
A number of studies showed us that taking a glass of alcohol before your sleep is not a proper sleep aid. But the question here is if the alcohol can keep you awake all night.
This is highly individual, however. It depends on your general health, medication history and recent chemical changes in your body how you are gonna react to alcohol exactly. Moreover, it is all individual when it comes to whether you will spend the night awake or simply sleeping after just one cup of alcohol.
Good to know: Your body needs at least one hour to process the alcohol.
The Following Day
If you insist on drinking alcohol before you go to sleep, you should bear in mind that you will have to deal with the following day. Basically, it means that you will have to deal with some side effects.
The first thing that will welcome you the following day is the feeling of tiredness. You will feel anything but refreshed, and you are more likely to experience insomnia or fragmented sleep.
In addition, you will have a powerful urge for sleep during the day which can directly affect your motivation for any kind of productivity.
Getting Back To Normal
Giving up on alcohol or cutting back on it cant be enough to reverse the negative impact on your sleep. Furthermore, it can be even trickier to reverse the effects that are caused by prescription medications.
The best way to maintain your health and sleep is to reach out for help. If you are feeling that you need constant help and that your alcohol nightcap easily scales up you should ask for professional help.
Tips For A Good Night Sleep
- Stay away from alcohol and caffeine late in the evening.
- Make sure your room is cool and your bed comfortable.
- Exercise daily. The one-hour walk is fine as well.
- Make a list of things that you have to do the following day. By doing so you will have a feeling of control over your day and night activities.
- If you must have a nightcap, try to change alcohol for herbal tea.
Drinking Before Sleep – Key Takeaways
Your lifestyle reflects your health. Moreover, your lifestyle habits can be easily seen in your sleeping cycle. If you don’t treat your sleep right, it means that you are not living as you should. Therefore, you are doing something wrong.
If you a busy person, or a beer/wine lover, the chances are that you love having a minute or two after a busy day in silence. Moreover, those moments are usually probably reserved for strong nightcup.
It probably relaxes you and falls you to sleep faster. But, just because something is fast and helps you fall asleep it doesn’t mean that its good for you. Although beer before your sleep can help you fall asleep faster, it doesn’t mean that you can expect a peaceful night. Moreover, the chances are that you will have a restless night filled with often bathroom visits.
Therefore, if you don’t want to spend another night being more in the bathroom than in your bed, just maybe you should rethink your habits before you go to sleep.