Sleep and Alcohol

a woman on the bed holding a glass of wine

Thinking about having a few drinks this weekend? Before you go too crazy, you should be aware of how alcohol could affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

While having a few drinks in moderation is usually okay for sleeping, having too much can cause problems when bedtime comes around. And let’s face it, no one enjoys the unpleasant “morning after” effects that alcohol has on your system. While drinking before bedtime can cause you to fall asleep faster, you may not necessarily stay asleep the way you should be. Many people experience insomnia when they drink too much and this can also affect your rapid eye movement (REM), an essential part of the sleep cycle where you are in a deep sleep, and your body has been known to restore itself during this process. The more you drink, the worse the effects can be.

A few tips to safely enjoy a few alcoholic beverages without disrupting your sleep:

  • Know your limits and stick to them: drinking alcohol can affect everyone differently depending on your age, gender, and body type.
  • Don’t drink very close to bedtime: having 1-2 drinks earlier in the evening (for example, with dinner) is usually okay, but having too much to drink, especially late at night close to bedtime can really hurt your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
  • If you did indulge a bit too much, drink lots of water before you go to bed: alcohol is known to dehydrate your system, so drinking water can not only help to hydrate you, but it can help you to avoid getting a headache in the morning, a typical after-effect of drinking too much.
  • Do not use alcohol as an aid to fall asleep: speak to your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping at night, they can assist you using a healthier method than alcohol.   

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