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  • Writer's pictureJillian Speck

How does Alcohol affect sleep routines?

If you have difficulties sleeping, Alcohol may assist in the short term, as it can make you feel calmer. However, even a few beers can impair sleep quality and exacerbate sleep issues. So it might not be doing exactly what you think it is.

Alcohol is a nervous system depressant that has sedative effects that can provide sensations of relaxation and sleepiness. But excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with poor sleep quality and duration. Insomnia symptoms are typical in people with alcohol use disorders. Alcohol use has been shown to aggravate sleep apnea symptoms as well.

How many drinks are too much?

Sleepers who consume substantial amounts of alcohol before going to bed are more likely to experience delayed sleep onset, which means they take longer to fall asleep. As the liver enzymes digest the alcohol over the night and the blood alcohol level lowers, these people are more prone to have sleep interruptions, and sleep quality diminishes.

Most of us believe that unless someone has an alcohol addiction or drinks heavily, they are immune to the adverse effects of Alcohol. However, an increasing number of studies are showing that’s not always the case.

Anyone can experience sleep problems from time to time, such as difficulty falling asleep, sleeping too much, waking up too early, or repeatedly throughout the night. Frequent alcohol consumption can increase the likelihood of sleep problems.

The Quality of Your Sleep Matters

Alcohol affects the amount of deep and REM sleep you obtain. Your body needs these types of sleep to mend and replenish itself. So even if you sleep through the night, you’ll most likely wake up fatigued and exhausted.

Drinking Alcohol before bedtime increases your chances of needing the restroom in the middle of the night, disrupting your sleep, and making you exhausted the next day.

Even one drink has been shown to decrease sleep quality. Moderate alcohol consumption reduced restorative sleep quality by 24%, while heavy alcohol consumption reduced it by 39%.

These findings were the same for men and women. Sleep issues can also have a significant impact on your mental health.

Ways to improve your sleeping habits:

  • Try to avoid caffeine late in the day.

  • Reduce the number of irregular or extended afternoon sleeps. While short power naps are good, extended, or irregular daytime naps might disrupt your sleep.

  • Set the temperature in your bedroom. It’s tough to get a good night’s sleep when you’re too hot, so set your thermostat to a cooler temperature before bed.

  • In the evening, unwind and clear your mind. Relaxation practices before bedtime have been demonstrated to improve sleep quality and are a typical treatment for insomnia.

  • Take a bath or shower to ease yourself into a bedtime routine.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is one of the most scientifically proven strategies to improve sleep and overall health. Remember, lots of things can count as exercise.

What kind of support do you need?

If you’re looking to set better boundaries with yourself around drinking. Or incorporate new daily habits that will translate into a better night’s sleep, you can book a complimentary 30 minute mini session to chat more.

I love helping people figure out what works best for them. I feel that everyone knows what will and won’t work for them. That’s why I never use a no one-size-fits all approach. Most of the time, you just need a little support and accountability to make it happen. That’s what I’m here for.

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