Alaska Sleep Education Center

Be Wary Of Alcohol If It's Sound Sleep You Crave

Posted by Jane Sandwood on Sep 30, 2020 7:56:00 AM

Two men toasting a glass of beer in bar

In order to remain healthy, an adult needs to get between seven and nine hours of sound sleep a day, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Unfortunately, there are many things that can affect sleep quality, including what we eat and drink during the day.

The effects of alcohol on sleep have been the topic of many bodies of research over the years. While many people are of the belief that having a drink before bed can improve your sleep, various studies have found the exact opposite to be true. In order to make educated decisions on matters concerning our sleep and overall health, it is important to know to what extent your sleep can be affected by your alcohol consumption.

Make smart choices

If you do want to have a drink or two before bed without worrying too much about the effect it will have on your sleep, opt for red wine instead of beer or spirits. Red wine is typically considered to be the healthiest alcoholic beverage, as it contains large amounts of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These polyphenols can help fight inflammation in the body and aid in treating a range of health concerns, including diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and neurodegenerative diseases.

If you find keeping an open bottle of wine in the fridge or cupboard too much of a temptation, buy singular units of your favorite variety instead. Thanks to the ever-increasing desire for alternative beverage packaging, you can now buy your Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon in a convenient, single-serving can instead of a bottle. Just remember that, regardless of what you drink, your sleep may be impacted

Your biological clock may be impacted

The body’s circadian rhythms regulate many of the body’s most important processes, including cognitive functioning, metabolism, immunity and sleep. When these rhythms are disturbed, chaos can ensue within the body. While having a few drinks before bed may seem like a sound plan to get some sleep, it will have a direct effect on your circadian rhythms, making it difficult to get sound sleep. In order to avoid falling victim to interrupted, low-quality sleep, halt your alcohol consumption at least four hours before to going to bed.

The restorative quality of sleep may be reduced

According to a study conducted by a group of Finnish researchers, alcohol consumption can decrease the restorative quality of sleep significantly. It was found that even consuming a single drink can reduce the normal physiological recovery provided by sleep by as much as 9.3%.

A moderate intake, however, can decrease it by 24%, while high alcohol consumption can effectually reduce the recovery offered by sound sleep by up to 39.2%. The study's findings further indicated that both men and women were affected in a similar fashion, regardless of whether they were leading an active or sedentary lifestyle. 

Alcohol can impact our health and well-being in many ways. Consuming your drink of choice in moderation is of vital importance if you want to enjoy sound sleep and all the benefits that come with it. 

Consuming large amounts of alcohol before bedtime can harm your health. Excessive alcohol can interrupt your sleep cycles, prevent you from entering REM sleep, produce breathing complications, and create the need to urinate more often. Your sleep is more important than alcohol.

If you believe that you have obstructive sleep apnea, it’s vital that you see a doctor immediately who can diagnose you. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition which can be fatal, so knowing what to do and what to avoid can help with your symptoms and ease any fatigue and exhaustion commonly linked with the condition.

For more information on diagnosing, treating, and the possible consequences of untreated obstructive sleep apnea click here.

Chronic Drowsiness

Topics: alcohol, getting sleep

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