Insomnia and Sleep Problems Are Linked to Drinking Alcohol

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For others, it means drinking with intention, not out of (bad) habit. As Allen told me, when it comes to mindful drinking, “we want to minimize the frequency and maximize the enjoyment.” Plus, the study suggested, the month gave people a chance to experience the benefits of sobriety and learn that they didn’t need to drink to enjoy themselves. How effortless other health goals become often surprises people, said Nick Allen, a cofounder and the CEO of Sunnyside, an app and organization that helps people drink more mindfully.

When alcohol has been introduced to the sleep cycle, the functions of the brain are impeded, and the cycles become disrupted. This sleep cycle disruption is what causes the person to feel tired and “fuzzy” the next day and can lead to further sleep issues, such as insomnia or alcohol addiction over time. Many people with insomnia may have difficulty falling asleep at night. As a result, they may consume alcohol to speed up falling asleep, but evidence shows this technique does not improve sleep quality. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which is why it gives you that pleasant, relaxed feeling.

Why You Should Limit Alcohol Before Bed for Better Sleep

Replenish vitamins and minerals with a low-sugar electrolyte drink or tablet and a B-complex vitamin. But, contrary to popular belief, you should actually avoid painkillers like Tylenol or Advil, because they further tax your hard-working liver. “While alcohol makes you fall into a deeper sleep in the first few hours of your slumber, it also interferes with REM sleep,” says Macdonald. Once it becomes acetic acid, it’s ready to break down into carbon dioxide and water. This taxing process breaks down about 90 percent of the alcohol you consumed to clear it out of your system (2, 3).

Is it good to drink 1 beer before bed?

Even Low Alcohol Consumption Hurts Sleep Quality

A study conducted by Finnish researchers found that any amount of alcohol consumption before bedtime hurts sleep quality. Specifically, low amounts decreased sleep quality by over 9%, moderate amounts by nearly 25%, and high amounts by almost 40%.

Finding ways to cope with insomnia and other sleep issues is important since poor sleep can be a risk factor for alcohol relapse. Such problems can persist for some time even after you decide to quit drinking. In fact, difficulty sleeping is one of the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms and one that causes many to relapse. Even the healthiest sleepers wake a few times during the night, though for the most part you’re not awake long enough to remember them, Perlis says.

Foods & Drinks That Can Help You Sleep Better at Night

Unfortunately, many attempt to use the sedative effects of alcohol to combat their insomnia through self-medication. However, even small amounts of alcohol can have noticeable effects in some people. The link between alcohol consumption and sleep impairment is especially prominent among older adults.

Drinking alcohol can act as a diuretic, which increases the amount of urine your body produces and releases. Information provided on Forbes Health is for why does alcohol cause insomnia educational purposes only. Your health and wellness is unique to you, and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances.

Why Does it Make You Sleepy?

While alcohol can help you fall asleep, it does not help you stay asleep during the later hours of the night. It may increase the likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night, resulting in grogginess the next morning. Some people may resort to drinking alcohol as a sleep aid or agent that initiates sleep.

Do you sleep better without alcohol?

Sleep is better without alcohol

Alcohol has sedative effects, so it may not immediately look like a culprit for poor sleep. People might find it easier to fall asleep – or even nod off when they don't mean to – if they've been drinking alcohol.

National Geographic spoke to experts and examined the research to find out. Everyone’s situation, drinking history, and health are unique, so I recommend starting with your doctor for chronic sleep issues. Now, if you’re a busy person with a tightly set schedule, these times might not work for you, and that is okay. However, avoid exercising 1-2 hours before bed, as this can create a level of activity in your brain that makes it hard to settle down and get to sleep. Chronic insomnia is long-term insomnia, defined as having difficulty falling or staying asleep for more than three nights per week for three or more months. Alcohol consumption decreases melatonin production — regardless of whether the sun is down.

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