Do you love having a few glasses of wine at night before bed? If so, you are not alone. 20% of adults in the United States believe that drinking at night makes it easier for them to fall asleep.
Although it may make you feel sleepy, alcohol does not necessarily promote sleep. In reality, what may seem like a normal and peaceful phase of your bedtime routine is affecting your sleep. In this article, we’ll explore ten interesting ways that cutting back on alcohol can improve your sleep. Let’s begin!
How Cutting Back on Alcohol Can Improve Your Sleep
Highlighted below are the various ways that cutting back on alcohol can improve your sleep cycle.
- More quality sleep
Taking alcohol before bed can affect the quality of your sleep. The deep, rejuvenating stages of sleep last for a shorter period of time when you drink. Thus, you have a higher chance of waking up early and having trouble falling back asleep. It should be easier to fall asleep and stay asleep if you drink less alcohol, which will also likely improve your mood and focus the next day.
- No more night sweats
When we consume alcohol, our heart rates increase, and our blood vessels widen (a process known as vasodilation). This might cause you to start sweating whenever you’re asleep.
If alcohol withdrawal is the cause of your night sweats, you might want to consider reducing your alcohol intake. Effective ways to minimize your alcohol use include:
- Cutting back on the number of days you drink.
- Planning social gatherings without alcohol.
- Switching to other relaxation techniques in place of drinking to deal with tension or anxiety.
Instead of consuming alcohol before bed, consider drinking lots of water to assist you in dealing with night sweats and getting a little more sleep. Additionally, the severity of night sweats can be reduced, and your comfort level can be increased by having good general sleeping habits.
- Decreased likelihood of needing to use the bathroom at night
As a diuretic, alcohol enhances water loss through urination. This is accomplished by preventing the hormone called vasopressin from being produced, which is essential for regulating water excretion.
When the body needs water, vasopressin instructs the kidneys to reabsorb it instead of flushing it out through the bladder. The bladder can fill up with urine when the body’s natural signal is turned off, which allows the urine to be released when we use the restroom. Cutting off alcohol can help you get a better night’s sleep because you won’t need to wake up every few hours to pee at night.
- Decreased snoring and sleep apnea
Loud, persistent snoring is one of the most prevalent and well-known signs of sleep apnea. Your upper airway may become clogged or collapse more frequently if your throat muscles are relaxed from drinking alcohol. This causes the soft tissue in your throat to vibrate more as you breathe, which produces the familiar snoring sound.
As a result, if you frequently snore or have obstructive sleep apnea, drinking alcohol before bed might be very problematic. All of this can be avoided by reducing your alcohol intake, which will also improve your sleep.
- No more dehydration
We urinate more frequently when we drink alcohol, and if this fluid is not replaced, it might cause us to become dehydrated. Hence, if we choose to drink alcohol, it is crucial to drink lots of water to replenish the lost fluid. This is particularly crucial if you are drinking while the weather is hot because dehydration is more common in hot weather, even without drinking alcohol.
- Higher melatonin level
Your body naturally produces melatonin, a hormone that aids in maintaining a consistent sleep cycle. Most melatonin is made specifically between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. While alcohol can make you sleepy, it can also lower your body’s production of melatonin. Thus, reducing your alcohol consumption is a way to prevent this from happening.
- Better mental health
Your drinking habits may have a negative impact on your mental health. Heavy drinking can lead to major health issues like addiction, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, your mood and concentration may be impaired, and you may find it challenging to get a good night’s sleep as a result of these health issues. This is one of the reasons why most people who regularly drink excessively find it difficult to overcome hangover. However, reducing your alcohol intake can enhance your mental well-being and let you sleep soundly. You can only achieve this if you practice mindful drinking.
- No more hangovers
There is usually a low mood that follows a night of drinking that makes it difficult for you to sleep. And this will likely make you spend the next day nursing a hangover. In order to achieve a good night’s sleep and avoid hangovers, people who practice mindful drinking tend to abstain from drinking frequently or right before bed.
- Easier time for those with insomnia
Having trouble falling asleep is a defining feature of insomnia. The amount of REM sleep you get each night may decrease if you drink alcohol. So if you drink before bed, you could have symptoms of insomnia, including waking up too early or having trouble falling asleep. This can result in using more alcohol as self-medication to help you sleep, which could start a vicious cycle of experiencing poor sleep and then drinking more to make it better. Those with insomnia may find it easier to get a good night’s sleep if their alcohol dependence is addressed.
- No more disrupted sleep cycle
A person’s brain goes through a predictable pattern when getting a good night’s sleep. There are typically four sleep cycles in this pattern. These sleep cycles’ durations can change depending on the individual and their age. Your brain will repeatedly cycle through each sleep cycle to ensure you have a good night’s sleep.
However, alcohol interferes with brain functioning and disrupts sleep cycles, which is why it should never be used to induce sleep. The person wakes up the next day feeling exhausted, and this interruption of their sleep cycle might eventually result in other sleep problems like insomnia.
How We Can Help
One of the simplest ways to have a better night’s sleep is to reduce your alcohol consumption. You’ll immediately start to experience the rewards of longer, deeper sleep if you develop the practice of sleeping without the influence of alcohol. You will also feel better as you strive to meet your alcohol and sleep goals. At Sunnyside, we can help you become mindful about drinking so that you can start having longer, deeper sleep.