Even a few ounces of alcohol alters the basic structure of normal sleep. Drinking to fall asleep is an ineffective sleep strategy that can lead to many sleep disorders, including insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and changes in sleep architecture. “Alcohol is initially sedating, but as it is metabolized, the quality of sleep declines later in the night, and sleep becomes more difficult,” she says. It can get in the way.”
In other words, if you think it helps you fall asleep, it probably does, but the quality of sleep you’re getting isn’t great, says sleep doctor Temitayo Oyegbile-Chidi, MD, PhD, associate in the department. says the professor. He holds a PhD in Neurology from UC Davis Health. “Usually after an hour or two of sleep, you wake up a little earlier or roll over. After that, your sleep tends to be quite fragmented.”
With that in mind, let’s talk about how alcohol affects sleep quality and what you can do about it.
How does alcohol affect sleep quality?
Dr. Willeumier explains that the sedative effects of alcohol promote deep sleep during the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) phase, while also reducing the time spent during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. “REM sleep is critical for healthy brain function because it is essential for emotional regulation and memory consolidation and retention,” says Dr. Willemier.
A good night’s sleep doesn’t just keep you from feeling tired the next day. Dr. Willmier says. “Alcohol consumption can interfere with sleep recovery and impair immune, cardiovascular and cognitive health. In addition, insomnia increases the risk of mood disorders and substance abuse.”
Still, even if alcohol is part of your routine, there are some things you can do to improve your sleep quality, says Dr. Oigvir Chidi.
How alcohol can improve sleep quality
1. Limit consumption
One of the most important steps is to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink in a specific amount of time. “Have a glass of wine, maybe two,” says Dr. Oyegbile-Chidi, but that doesn’t mean every night.
“Alcohol shouldn’t be consumed regularly if your intention is to lead a brain-healthy lifestyle,” says Dr. Willmier. We recommend limiting your intake to one serving per week.
2. Finish drinking 4-6 hours before bedtime
According to Dr. Oyegbile-Chidi, a break between drinking and sleeping is enough for the alcohol to work its way through your system. This means that you are less likely to wake up to
In fact, according to a Florida Atlantic University study of 785 people who kept a sleep diary for a total of 5,164 days, drinking alcohol within four hours of falling asleep was actually worse than drinking coffee before bed. I know I will receive it. The main caveat here is that different people metabolize caffeine at different rates. So for some people, having an espresso or coffee after dinner may cause them to roll over. Even when considered, alcohol was still the major sleep-disrupting factor.
If you really want to be mindful, Dr. Willemier recommends setting a six-hour window before bed. Given that it’s more than six hours, you’ll need to drink it at least six hours before bed if you don’t want to, because it disrupts your sleep cycle,” she says.
3. Drink lots of water
Alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration can reduce sleep quality, so drinking fluids afterwards can help offset these effects. You can drink two glasses of water to rehydrate and expel the alcohol.”
4. Avoid alcohol
If you find that moderate amounts of alcohol affect your sleep quality, taking a break can reverse the effects of alcohol on your sleep. Say. “Given that sleep structure and efficiency decline with age, it’s important to keep in mind that alcohol exacerbates these problems.”
do you wake up in the middle of the night? Here are some tips to help you fall asleep faster:
Our editors independently select these products. Purchasing from links may incur a Well+Good fee.