Alcohol And Sleep: What You Need To Know For Quality Rest
Alcohol And Sleep: What You Need To Know For Quality Rest
WellbeingMarch 15, 2023 Alcohol And Sleep: What You Need To Know For Quality Rest By Thomas Martin Alcoholic beverages have been around since the beginning of civilization and have been used for religious rituals, medicine, and recreational purposes. In our modern… Read More

Alcoholic beverages have been around since the beginning of civilization and have been utilized for religious rituals, medicine, and recreational purposes. In our modern age nowadays, alcohol has become a widely accepted part of social gatherings and celebrations.

The belief that alcohol can help induce sleepiness is widespread due to its classification as a depressant. It can slow down brain activity and produce a sensation of relaxation. However, excessive drinking may lead to a host of negative health consequences. It can increase the risk of accidents and injuries and negatively impact sleep patterns, both in terms of quality and quantity.

Having a healthy sleep pattern is crucial to our overall wellness as it can improve focus, concentration, memory, heart health, the immune system, and many more. Unfortunately, when consumed in excess of the recommended amount, alcohol can impact the REM stage of sleep, causing numerous difficulties.

What Is REM?

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is a stage in which dreaming takes place. It is characterized by rapid, random movement of the eyes, which can be witnessed by an observer. During REM sleep, brain activity increases, heart rate and breathing become more irregular, and muscles become more relaxed. It is an important stage for memory consolidation and learning.

Without achieving REM during sleep, experiencing daytime sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and irritability may occur. Long-term sleep deprivation can cause severe health issues, including depression, heart disease, and weakened immune system.

Effects of Drinking Alcohol on Falling Asleep

Drinking alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but its effects on sleep quality are detrimental. Below are a few negative impacts of alcohol on sleep patterns:

  • It disrupts the natural sleep cycle and can cause people to wake up multiple times during the night, leading to disruption of the normal circadian rhythm.
  • Research published in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology in 2014 states that It suppresses REM sleep, which is the most restorative stage of the sleep cycle, making it more difficult to feel rested in the morning.
  • The consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of developing new sleep disorders, such as sleepwalking, night terrors, and sleep-related eating disorders.
  • It can worsen symptoms of sleep apnea and other sleep problems such as insomnia and restless leg syndrome.

Establishing a Healthy Sleep Pattern

If achieving REM sleep is proving difficult, several self-help practices can assist in achieving a healthy sleep routine. Below are some tips to make sleep more comfortable and result in healthier, more restful sleep:

Use White Noise Apps

Using sleep aid apps can help you relax your mind and body, allowing for a more profound sleep. The best white noise apps, which are often included in sleep sound machine apps, along with calming music or ambient sounds, can help mask distractions and help you fall asleep more quickly.

Avoid Drinking Alcohol Close to Bedtime

Alcohol might initially help you fall asleep faster, but it can disrupt your sleep later in the night. The recommended daily amount of alcohol intake is no more than two drinks for men and a maximum of one drink for women. Keeping your alcohol intake to a minimum and not drinking close to bedtime can prevent frequent awakening, lighter sleep, and a decrease in REM sleep.

Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

A soothing routine before bed may help relax your body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep. Examples of these activities are taking a warm bath, drinking herbal tea or warm milk, or doing light stretching while listening to top meditation apps.

Take Away

While there is some truth to the claim that alcohol may make you sleepy, excessive alcohol intake can negatively affect sleep patterns. It can disrupt the natural sleep cycle and suppress REM sleep, which is the most crucial stage in the sleep cycle. To get a good night’s sleep, it is best to limit alcohol consumption and establish a healthy sleeping routine using best practices.

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