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by kseniyakuz

Effects of Alcohol on Your Sleep

Alcohol only makes your sleep unhealthy and reduces your sleep quality.

Date:   9/4/2019 2:56:46 PM   ( 3 y ) ... viewed 445 times

Have you made drinking alcohol a daily ritual; that you cannot do without every evening before your bedtime? Consuming alcohol can have strong, adverse effects on your sleep quality and quantity.

Having a drink or more towards your bedtime can impact your sleep negatively. And out of the things that affect sleep quality and quantity, not many people are aware of the role of alcohol. In a study that was carried out in 2009, out of the 2,000 respondents that participated, 58 per cent of them did not know that drinking alcohol has negative effects on their sleep quality.

Of course, alcohol stimulates the release of endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in the brain when you start taking it. These chemicals are responsible for the increased level of confidence, more socially exhibited, and more vocally expressive behaviors that you feel. But after some time, the alcohol begins to work as a sedative, and a small amount can make you fall asleep. What happens is that, after taking the alcohol, the brain absorbs it and it takes effect immediately. How long the effects last depends on how much you consumed.

Alcohol has been used to induce sleep for many years now, and with the many sleep medicines in pharmacies, a lot of people continue to use alcohol as self-medication to make them fall asleep thereby having to deal with an unfulfilling sleep. A little while ago, physicians recommended “nightcaps” for people suffering from sleep difficulty or inability to sleep. Using alcohol to induce sleep is not healthy because it affects the stages of sleep, makes you sleep lighter and wake abruptly from time to time. A chronic alcoholic who depends on alcohol to get sleep may find it difficult to achieve this with low doses. They may have to take alcohol in very high amounts before they can sleep.

Alcohol and How it affects the Sleep Cycle.

Below are the four stages of the sleep cycle;

    •    N1: This accounts for 4 to 5 percent of your sleep, and it is the period of transition from being awake into being sleep.

    •    N2: This is the stage where your heart rate and breathing pattern start slowing down.

    •    N3: This is the deep sleep stage where your brain and body are going through restoration.

    •    REM: At this stage of sleep, some segments of the brain are most active. This is also the point where you have dreams filled with action. The REM Stage is the stage where the muscles are paralyzed so that you do not act out your dreams.

Each sleep stage is important as even sleep scientists have not put a value on each of the sleep stages that we have. Therefore, you cannot place more value on one stage over the other which makes it important that your sleep quality is not compromised in any way. You have to go through all the stages of sleep for you to get quality sleep.

How Alcohol affects your sleep

•    It affects your sleep quality

If you take alcohol in the evening and you sleep throughout the night, you may not get the rested and refreshed feeling that you are supposed to get when you wake up. Alcohol prevents you from sleeping deeply and suppresses REM.

•    Interferes with your sleep time

Alcohol causes frequent abrupt wakening throughout your sleep and sometimes, it makes it difficult for you to fall back asleep.

•    It causes sleep disorders

Some sleep disorders such as sleep apnea worsen after consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption before sleeping can make the airway narrower which leads to an increased frequency of the inability to breathe during sleep.

Is It Possible to Prevent the Impact of Alcohol on Sleep?

Getting alcohol out of the body system takes time, and if you do not want alcohol to interfere with your getting quality sleep, you need to give enough time for the alcohol to get out of your body system. What you can do is to take alcohol at least three hours before your bedtime. This will help reduce the effects of the alcohol on your sleep quality. If you do not intend to let go of alcohol altogether, you can make a conscious effort to monitor how much alcohol you consume in one drink. Try to take alcoholic drinks with low alcohol content hours before you go to bed so you can enjoy your drink without sacrificing your sleep quality.

Tips for getting good sleep without alcohol

Are you used to inducing sleep with alcohol and you are scared that giving up alcohol will lead to sleep difficulty? Check out some of these sleeping solutions and tips to sleep successfully without alcohol.

    •    Consistent sleep/wake time.

Maintaining a consistent sleep/wake time can help you guarantee a good sleep. Have a set time that you will go to bed and set your alarm to get off your bed at a particular time in the morning. Include weekends too, and you will find your body adjusting to this sleep routine. Make sure your bedding is suitable for your sleeping position - if you are a side sleeper, you need a thicker pillow, of you are a stomach or back sleeper, you need a thin (almost flat) pillow.

    •    Exercise

Take out time to exercise in the evenings, and you will find it easier to get sleep whenever you decide to sleep. Exercising increases the temperature of your body beyond the normal level and by the time you are ready to sleep, the temperature starts dropping which makes it easier for you to fall asleep.

    •    Avoid caffeine

Caffeine is a very effective stimulant that keeps you awake and active. Avoid taking any foods or beverages that contain caffeine anytime from the afternoon into evening. If you must have a drink, take ice water. Doing this will help you maintain a natural sleep cycle.

Conclusion

Although a lot of people see alcohol as a simple way of inducing sleep; it is not. If alcohol does anything to your sleep, it only makes your sleep unhealthy and reduces your sleep quality. If you want to sleep better, avoid the booze.

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