You may want to reconsider taking your nightly alcohol, especially if you want to have a sound and solid night sleep. Wine, beer and liquor can all help you fall asleep faster or even shorten your sleep latency.
However, experts agree that if you drink before bed, you’re more likely to wake up throughout the night and get less deep sleep.
The truth about your night wine
If you take too much alcohol close to bedtime, both the quality and quantity of your sleep and your brainpower the next day ― will suffer. This is because alcohol messes with your sleep cycles, resulting in more arousals, and causing you to spend less time in the important deep sleep stages.
What this means is that even if you hit your bed quickly, you’ll pay for it later in the night and also in the morning.
Basing your sleep on booze
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. When someone drinks alcohol, it results in them feeling ‘calmer’ and more relaxed because it directly impacts the system that is causing anxiety or stress. What this means is that alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep ― but it doesn’t guarantee a restful night.
After a short time (about two hours), your body will start trying to wash out the alcohol, which it views as a toxin. Your body does this by pulling water from cells and flushing out the toxin through the kidneys and bladder (which is responsible for you getting up to pee so often).
More so, alcohol suppresses the anti-diuretic hormone in your body, which can contribute to even more bathroom trips, and when you’re going to the bathroom regularly, you’re losing essential electrolytes.
All of these factors can make you have a terrible night sleep that is frequently interrupted and an exhausted, dehydrated you in the morning.
But here are some ways you can drink and sleeping well later.
Give It Time
Firstly, allow three to four hours between drinking and hitting the sheets. If you plan to sleep by 10 p.m., be sure to finish that glass of wine by 7. This is because it takes your body about three hours to metabolize 8 ounces of wine.
The exact time may vary depending on your size, your gender and your alcohol intake. Alcohol tends to affect women more acutely, and it is suggested that they adopt a four-hour window.
Use the “two for one” rule
Guzzle two glasses of water for every alcoholic drink. This will help your system flush out the alcohol. You should drink even more water if you’re having wine or a sugary drink, since your body will need to flush out the alcohol and the sugar.
Remove the bubbles
Bubbles can cause bloating and gas, which distend your stomach, providing more surface area for alcohol to be absorbed and this can mess with your sleep. Also, think twice about drinks with fizzy, carbonated mixers.
Drink with food and monitor your alcohol intake
Doing your drinking and your eating at the same time is a good idea because you’re typically munching on meals a few hours before bed. This allows more time for your body to metabolize them and also for you to squeeze in those crucial glasses of water.
Abstain if you’re taking sleeping pills
Medications like Ambien and Benadryl don’t mix with alcohol. Alcohol is a respiratory depressant that makes breathing hard and a majority of sleeping aids work on the same receptors in the body that alcohol does, which means you’re suppressing your ability to breathe even more.
As such, alcohol amplifies the effects of the sleeping pills, which can be quite dangerous.
Moreover, it’s important to note that alcohol worsens sleep disorders. Since alcohol results in extra breathing difficulties, it’s double problem for the health of anyone with the disorder.