It is very common for people to have a night cap before bedtime to help them fall asleep. The sedating effects of alcohol are very effective at calming the mind and the body and helping people reach the onset of sleep in less time. Although many people report that heavy drinking makes them sleep soundly, alcohol actually has the reverse effect and will make you more tired the next day. How does alcohol deceptively ruin a good night’s sleep? Read on to see what the SleepBook team found out in our recent under-the-covers investigation.
Alcohol Disrupts Sleep Cycles
Drinking alcohol before bed can have a negative effect on what scientists call “sleep architecture” — the pattern of sleep and brain waves that leaves you feeling refreshed in the morning. We need the right balance of REM sleep and non-REM sleep, and alcohol disturbs this.
Alcohol is No Cure for Insomnia
A recent survey found that 28% of insomniacs used alcohol in an attempt to induce sleep on a nightly basis. Unknowingly, an insomniac may ingest alcohol to help them fall asleep but, because alcohol disrupts the sleep cycle. This prevents people from reaching the deeper, more restorative phases of sleep, leaving them feeling groggy and tired in the morning. Also, repeated use of alcohol to help fall asleep can eventually lead to alcohol dependence.
Alcohol dehydrates the body which can wake a sleeper up in the middle of the night with a parched throat or mouth. Waking up thirsty also means a trip to the kitchen for a glass of water which may make it difficult for the sleeper to fall back to sleep.
A recent study by the University of Wisconsin Medical School found that “Each additional alcohol drink per day increased the odds of sleep-disordered breathing by approximately 25%.” Sleep apnea causes people to imperceptibly wake up frequently throughout the night – sometimes over a hundred times per hour – which can lead to many serious health problems.
If you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, avoid the alcohol and go for a natural cure. Here’s a few ways you can fall asleep naturally:
- Get plenty of exercise during the day
- Develop a consistent sleep/wake cycle
- Don’t drink caffeine after 3:00 pm