We all love a nice drink. Sometimes, two (or more). Drinking alcohol is not only a social activity, it helps us relax, reduces inhibitions, and frankly, we enjoy it.
But, drinking alcohol at night and then trying to get a good night’s sleep might be harder than you think. We’ll take a look at what happens to you when you drink, as well as how it affects sleep stages.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DRINK:
In small amounts (1-2 drinks), alcohol can act as a stimulant. It increases excitability and “takes the edge off”. In larger amounts (3+ drinks), it acts as a depressant.
Studies show that, in healthy folks, having a drink or two before going to bed actually helps you off to sleep. But, that’s only a part of the story. It also disrupts REM and deep sleep significantly, both compose the restorative parts of sleep. You’ll spend much more time in light sleep instead. In addition to the sleep disruption, the metabolism of alcohol can increase sleep body temperature, making you uncomfortable and hot during the night.
Add a few more drinks to the mix, and you might experience some respiratory issues. You might snore, or worse, experience alcohol induced apnea.
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?
If wine is your game, there are dry wines (generally white wines) that are lower in sulfites, sugar (even sugar free), alcohol content, or free of mycotoxin (mold). If it’s spirits you’re after, shoot for high quality vodka, tequila, gin, or light rum. Just be careful not to use sugary mixers!
Here’s a link to Dry Farm Wines:https://www.dryfarmwines.com/
The next step is to give yourself time to metabolize the liquor before heading off to bed. A good rule is for a glass of wine or a beer, give an hour. For every shot of liquor, also an hour.
Finally, for every drink you have, make sure to have a tall glass of water. Alcohol is a diuretic, so you’ll lose fluids. This is very often the missing link.
If you follow these guidelines and still have issues with sleep, you may need more time per drink to metabolize the alcohol. Or, you’ll simply need to drink less or less frequently.
Even if you think you’re able to drink and then sleep through the night just fine, you aren’t. Disrupted REM and deep sleep can have a major affect on overall health over time, leading to illness, inflammation, and weight gain.
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