Alcohol and Sleep

August 12, 2019

Alcohol and Sleep

I got drunk. It was years ago, but I clearly remember the evening. This was before my husband and I were married and we were on a short vacation. I didn’t get the “Oh my goodness, I drank so much that now I think I’m going to be sick” kind of drunk. Instead, I got the, “I am talking much louder than I need to and now I feel super sleepy” type of drunk. I admittedly drank a lot that night. We had dined at a AAA 5 Diamond Award recipient restaurant. Along with dinner, we had the option of doing a wine pairing, which cost almost $100 per person. This was years ago, and I honestly don’t remember the exact cost, I only remember that it was expensive in comparison to our incomes.

We each did the wine pairing and, because it was expensive, I drank every drop of alcohol they gave me along with every drop of alcohol that my husband didn’t drink. Needless to say, I drank a lot. It’s not surprising that I became intoxicated and inevitably quite tired. It was probably around 9 PM, and I was dropped off at the hotel to drift to sleep. Fortunately, our friends had joined us on that trip and my partner had something to do while I rested. Later, at around 1 AM that morning, I woke up. I was now WIDE AWAKE.

The alcohol that had made me so incredibly tired just a few hours earlier was the same alcohol that now woke me from my slumber.

My experience is only one illustration of alcohol and sleep. People mistakenly believe that if they are not sleeping, they should “have a drink” to relax them and help them to fall asleep. Though on occasion, small amounts of alcohol might be helpful, generally speaking, it is a bad idea to rely on alcohol to help one sleep. Alcohol’s negative impacts include that it can dehydrate you, make you have to urinate more frequently throughout the evening, and it can also cause snoring. Additionally, alcohol suppresses melatonin thus disrupting your natural Circadian rhythm, causes you to have more light and less restful sleep, and also causes less REM sleep which is necessary to help one feel rejuvenated.

Does that mean that you should never drink before bedtime? If you watch your alcoholic intake and do not consume any alcohol less than one hour before you lay down, you might not have any ill effects. But if you do drink before bed, and you wake up after only a few hours and then are unable to fall back asleep...well, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

 

Have you ever used alcohol to help you sleep? Did you feel like it helped or harmed you?

 






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