Some people turn to alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer with the desire to have a better night’s sleep. However, this is not exactly correct.
1. Alcohol makes you sleepy
If you have ever drank alcoholic beverages such as wine or beer before going to bed, you will surely feel sleepy very quickly. Alcohol in drinks has the ability to affect the central nervous system, giving you a feeling of relaxation and you will feel sleepy faster. This effect of alcohol is only effective in the early stages of sleep. Alcohol users reported that they did not wake up during the first few hours of sleep, and if so, it was because their sleep duration was shorter at this stage. When this effect wears off, the opposite effects will begin to appear.
2. Contradictory effects
Alcohol helps you fall asleep faster, but it causes sleep disruptions at night, messing with your sleep time and quality.
Waking up to pee
Waking up frequently at night goes hand in hand with drinking a lot of drinks before going to bed. In addition, the alcohol in the drink has a diuretic effect, which increases the process of water loss and you will have to get up to pee more. The more you wake up to pee, the less you sleep.
Disruption of circadian rhythms
As the body metabolizes alcohol, the amount of alcohol decreases and the sedative effect of alcohol also decreases. This can affect your circadian rhythms during sleep and may cause you to wake up more often.
REM is rapid eye movement during sleep. According to research, REM occurs during the deepest stages of sleep. This is also the stage where dreams take place. The occurrence of REM during sleep has a restorative effect and plays a role in memory and concentration. Poor sleep during this period not only leads to fatigue the next day, but also entails many potentially harmful health risks such as illness or premature death.
Drinking alcohol increases your chances of having “vivid” dreams, such as sleepwalking or nightmares, which will not give you a restful night’s sleep.
3. How much drinking will affect sleep?
Drinking little or moderate amounts of alcohol (1 or 2 standard units) before bed doesn’t have much of an effect on sleep. If you cross the average threshold, the initial light sleep phase will be more present, but the deep sleep phase will decrease in overall sleep. If you feel a little drunk, you can still get a good night’s sleep. If you are too drunk, you will fall asleep very quickly but toss and turn for the rest of your sleep.
4. How to sleep well after drinking alcohol
If you’re planning a night out or party and drink alcohol, here are a few tips that can help you sleep better after drinking:
- Give your body time to metabolize alcohol: the time it takes to metabolize alcohol is estimated at 1 hour for 1 standard drink. If you drink 3 units, after drinking you should give yourself 3 hours to metabolize the alcohol before going to bed.
- Go to the bathroom before bed: depending on how much you drink, you’ll need to pee before you go to bed. But give your body time to relax before you go to bed.
- Avoid carbonated drinks: carbonated drinks make your body absorb alcohol faster, and you will get drunk faster. This leads to difficulty falling asleep.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages: avoid caffeinated beverages like Jagerbomb or Rum if you want to sleep better. Drinking a combination of these two will keep you awake and make it difficult to fall asleep. What’s more, the stimulant effects of caffeine can make you feel like you haven’t had enough alcohol and drink more.
Sometimes, drinking alcohol before bed to relax can help you fall asleep more easily, but drinking too much will cause you to experience unwanted effects, leading to fatigue, hangover the next day. Therefore, drink in moderation and know your own stop.