Why drinking before bed can negatively affect your sleep quality
Sleep Health

Alcohol and Sleep: Why drinking before bed can negatively affect your sleep quality?

Alcohol can cause sleepiness. This has led to a widespread misunderstanding that it can help sleep. Up to 20% of Americans report using alcohol as a sleep aid. However, alcohol has a negative impact on the quality of your sleep and the amount of time you sleep. Drinking before bed can cause sleep interruptions, such as sweating and disturbed REM sleep.

Alcohol dependence and sleep disorders often coexist – people suffer from both diseases at the same time. Alcoholic sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, and daytime fatigue.

Why people use alcohol to aid their sleep?

Lots of people think that if they are not sleeping well, it is a good idea to self-medicate have a few drinks and there will be lights out and in many respects, that’s exactly what happens. People think that alcohol can give them a fantastic sleep. From statistics, about 20% of Americans do use alcohol to help them sleep at night. Now, the alcohol is not recommended by doctors but it is still commonly used to treat insomnia. That begs the question—is drunk sleep bad for you? Here we try to introduce all the related information to you.

about 20 percent of Americans do use alcohol to help them sleep at night
about 20 percent of Americans do use alcohol to help them sleep at night

Well first off, let’s take a look at why people use alcohol to help them fall asleep anyway. While alcohol is often known for the way it can change someone’s mood or behavior. And alcohol can also have sedative effects on the body, which may make you fall asleep more quickly. Alcohol causes drowsiness, so you may think it can aid sleep.

How does alcohol affect sleep ?

What you do not realize is that alcohol will help you fall asleep but once you have metabolized the alcohol, 2 to 3 hours after falling asleep, it will cause fragmentation of your sleep. In the second half of the night, you have an increase in your REM periods, which is dream sleep, and if those are fragmented it may hamper your learning process and your memory consolidation, which is what occurs during that stage of sleep. Now, not only will it cause fragmentation of your sleep, but when you’ve been drinking close to bedtime you will have to wake up to use the bathroom often at night. So there are two different ways that alcohol will fragment sleep and cause insomnia. It is best to avoid alcohol starting 2 to 3 hours prior to your bedtime so you have finished metabolizing alcohol before going to bed.

Why alcohol affects body recovery?

Another big thing about drunk sleep is that alcohol can alter your circadian rhythms, which is part of the body’s biological clock. Chronic circadian rhythm disruptions have been associated with an increased incidence of cancer. Your levels of melatonin, that is a kind of hormone associated with your sleep cycles, can also be suppressed. One study found that young adults who consumed alcohol had their melatonin levels reduced by 19% after 3 hours. But that’s not all that can be suppressed. Your growth hormone levels may also be on the chopping block because of alcohol. Among other things, growth hormone aids in regulating body composition by stimulating tissue growth, like with your muscles and bones. So, suppressing it doesn’t sound good at all.

consumed alcohol had thei melatonin levels reduced by 19 percent after 3 hours
consumed alcohol had thei melatonin levels reduced by 19 percent after 3 hours

Why drunk sleep make you feel more tired after waking up?

Drunk does help you fall asleep quickly. Then how about when you wake up the next morning? Commonly you are feeling tired, still very irritable, and you are having trouble to concentrate. And you will feel as if you didn’t sleep in the previous night at all. Why? Now the reason is that alcohol stops the most important parts of sleep from taking effect, especially for REM sleep. When we go through the REM sleep, our brains are working very hard to have a reset and be ready for the next day. It is filing away memories in different areas. So when we start the next day we start afresh. But alcohol disrupts the REM sleep and breaks the brain reset. So you feel bad.

Can drinking alcohol cause sleep apnea?

People in drunk sleep needs to be monitored carefully. Since alcohol is a diuretic, you might need to get up multiple times in the night to urinate. But, if you go so far as to get alcohol poisoning, things can get pretty bad really quickly. Drink too much can impair your gag reflex, which helps prevent choking. This means that if you pass out after a heavy night of drinking, then it’s possible you could choke on your own throw-up, leading to death. That’s why it’s really dangerous to binge drink and why anyone who does so needs to be monitored, especially if they go to sleep.

What is alcohol use disorder (AUD)?

Regularly depending on alcohol to help you fall asleep may result in alcohol dependence, and if without drinking you can not relax or fall asleep. Then that is a sign of alcohol use disorder, or AUD. AUD is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is defined by compulsively using alcohol use, losing control over how much alcohol you drink, and having a negative emotional state when you are not using it. In general, it is not a good idea to use alcohol as a sleep aid since it is thought to ultimately lead to restless nights. One study found that clinical investigations seem to support a relationship between sleep disturbance and alcohol use.

alcohol and sleep
alcohol and sleep

After a drink, how long should you wait until going to bed?

You should really avoid binge drinking, but even if you have only a small or moderate amount of alcohol, how long should you wait until going to bed? Well, it’s typically recommended that you finish drinking any alcohol about 2 or 3 hours before you nod off. The general idea here is that it takes about 1 hour for your body to metabolize a single serving of alcohol. So, if you want to have a few drinks, it’s probably best to try and not go to bed drunk. Please never hit the hay at once after a few drinks.

Why does drinking before bedtime cause night sweats?

Drinking may cause the body temperature slightly lower, and followed by a rise. Body temperature regulation during sleep is the key to keep sleep status. During stage 2, which is the light sleep stage, the body temperature drops. Cooler body temperature helps the body to maintain the sleep status. This is why strenuous exercise before bedtime can affect you to fall asleep. It boosts your blood circulation and energizes you. Your body temperature increases and you are excited totally.

By lowering your body temperature, alcohol can help you fall asleep quickly. However, once these effects disappear, your body warms up accordingly in advance to counteract them. But this reaction is caused by alcohol and occurs earlier than normal. The body is not ready to accept this change and reacts by sweating to try to lower body temperature. As another result, people who drink heavily before bedtime wake up earlier than expected as well.

Does alcohol affect sleep differently in men or women?

There is some evidence that men and women generally respond differently to alcohol. A recent study showed that for young adult women, alcohol increases their time in deep sleep and shortens the time of REM sleep. But for men, drinking before bedtime can reduce both deep sleep and REM sleep. But these are just general trends, and personal reactions vary widely.

Another study also found that women’s sleep is MORE affected by alcohol than men’s, possibly because women metabolize alcohol faster than men. Women are also more prone to suffer from insomnia, which often coexists with alcoholism.

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1 Comment

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