you probably enjoy the occasional glass of wine with dinner or cocktail with friends, but did you know that even light alcohol consumption can negatively impact your sleep? today, we dive deeper into the connection between alcohol and sleep to discover if a harmonious relationship between the two is possible. according to the national sleep foundation, one explanation for poor sleep after drinking is that the production of adenosine (a chemical in the brain that acts as a sleep-inducer) increases while drinking, allowing you to go to sleep quickly — however, this chemical quickly subsides, making you more likely to wake up throughout the night. additionally, alcohol inhibits rem sleep, which is often considered the most mentally restorative phase of sleep. finnish researchers found in a 2018 study that alcohol had significant effects on sleep quality, regardless of whether consumption was light, moderate, or heavy.
perhaps surprisingly, it found that alcohol affected the sleep of younger people more than it did older adults. you can still enjoy a drink or two, but there are a couple of tips you should follow to ensure it’s not impairing your sleep: if you find that you persistently snore whether you’ve been drinking or not, it could be due to a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. when a person is diagnosed with sleep apnea, it means that they have short and frequent breathing cessations during the night. alcohol can make existing obstructive sleep apnea and snoring worse — and higher levels of alcohol consumption can even increase a person’s risk for sleep apnea — so those with sleep apnea should pay special attention to their drinking habits before bedtime to make sure they’re setting themselves up for the best sleep possible. of course, good drinking and sleeping habits alone won’t be successful in treating sleep apnea symptoms as the disorder is a serious medical condition that requires proper treatment. if you experience consistent snoring and any one of the symptoms listed above, it may be time to talk to someone about your sleep issues.
some believe that it helps them drift off to sleep a little more soundly, while others simply like ending the day with a glass of their favorite red. according to dr. carleara weiss, ph.d., ms, rn, aeroflow sleep’s sleep science advisor and a postdoctoral fellow in sleep and circadian rhythms, a before-bed glass of wine simply doesn’t pair well with a good night’s rest. “ideally, people should restrict alcohol consumption to four hours before bedtime,” explains dr. weiss. “alcohol affects the central nervous system and has a sedative effect, leading to the thinking that it helps them sleep. and since rem holds a lot of benefits for cognitive health, missing out on this crucial sleep period can be hazardous to your wellbeing.
when talking about the impacts alcohol has on your sleep, dr. weiss says it’s important to focus on the alcohol content per drink and how long it takes to be digested in our system. “first, a standard drink usually has 14 grams of pure alcohol. a glass of wine (five ounces) has approximately 12-percent alcohol, and distilled drinks may have up to 40-percent alcohol in one-and-a-half ounces.” even having too much wine at lunch, without having anything to drink for the rest of the day, can still leave you with negative sleep effects come bedtime. waking up with a headache or feeling thirsty, tired, and sleepy are all signs that you had alcohol too close to bedtime, or too much during the day, resulting in impaired sleep. for better sleep results, limit your alcohol intake to a few days a week, at least four hours before bedtime, and have a small portion to avoid health consequences.
research suggests that, as a depressant, alcohol does help you fall asleep faster, but those effects quickly wear away after just a few hours as weiss confirms. “it may give the false impression of falling asleep faster, but it harms rem sleep and its overall quality.” for better sleep a couple of glasses of wine or a few drinks in the evening will probably make you fall asleep faster than normal., does red wine interfere with sleep, what alcohol helps you sleep best, does one glass of wine affect sleep, how to sleep better after drinking alcohol.
a new review of 27 studies shows that alcohol does not improve sleep quality. according to the findings, alcohol does allow healthy people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, but it reduces rapid eye movement (rem) sleep. and the more you drink before bed, the more pronounced these effects. alcohol may aid with sleep onset due to its sedative properties, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly. however, people who drink before bed often experience disruptions later in their sleep cycle as liver enzymes metabolize alcohol. alcohol consumption also affects sleep quality in various ways. a number of studies have shown that drinking momentarily increases sleepiness, but later causes even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it may impact your overall quality of sleep. if you go to bed with alcohol still in your system, sure, that nightcap, last glass of wine or beer before bed may help you feel sleepy. but it can actually end up robbing you of a good, alcohol and sleep quality, alcohol and sleep quality, worst alcohol for sleep.
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