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Alcohol and Sleep: What Happens If You Drink Before Bed?

Alcohol and Sleep: What Happens If You Drink Before Bed?

September 12, 2022

You may feel like drinking alcohol before bed will help you fall asleep. However, that is not the case. Alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Any disruption in REM will lead to poor concentration, daytime drowsiness and prevent you from having a sound sleep. Since alcohol is a depressant, you may think it will induce sleep, but it is disruptive, especially in the second half of the night.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that slows down your brain activity. Its sedative effects can induce feelings of sleepiness. Drinking alcohol in excess is linked to poor sleep quality, and it is common to experience insomnia and sleep apnea symptoms. Here is everything you need to know about alcohol and sleep.

What happens if you drink before bed

It may seem like a good idea to have a drink before bed. Even though alcohol helps you feel relaxed and sleepy, it has plenty of effects on your sleep. The timing of the sleep stages is crucial to waking up well rested. Here are the effects of alcohol on sleep.

  • It alters the sleep stages.
  • It affects the levels of adenosine.
  • It alters melatonin.
  • Alcohol increases obstructive sleep apnea.
  • It exacerbates insomnia.

How does alcohol affect sleep?

The amount of alcohol you take, your age, sex and body type will determine how alcohol will affect you. When you consume alcohol, it is absorbed into your bloodstream from your stomach to the small intestine. Even though the enzymes in the liver metabolize alcohol, the process is often slow, which means that excess alcohol continues circulating in your body. The sleep cycle has four stages: rapid eye movement (REM) and three non-rapid eye movements (NREM). Alcohol use can disrupt REM sleep before bed and decrease sleep quality.

how does alcohol affect sleep

Alcohol and insomnia

Insomnia is the difficulty staying asleep, falling asleep or being unable to go back to sleep. It is a common sleep disorder affecting one-third of adults. Insomnia has adverse effects and also leads to daytime sleepiness. Alcohol reduces REM sleep and leads to disruptions in sleep, especially if you drink before bed. Long-term alcohol use reduces sleep quality. The sleep quality problems can continue for months but will improve with abstinence.

Alcohol and sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing while sleeping. It occurs when is a physical blockage on the back of your throat. Your body forces you to wake up so that you can take a breath. The result is low oxygen levels and sleep deprivation. When you drink alcohol with sleep apnea, you will have difficulty getting a good night's sleep. Alcohol use also makes the sleep apnea effects worse. Alcohol makes your throat muscles relax, which creates resistance when breathing. According to research, alcohol increases sleep apnea effects by 25 percent.

Why does alcohol make me sleep?

Alcohol will make you sleepy fast because it depresses your nervous system. Its sedative effect helps you relaxed, which makes you fall asleep quickly. According to research, the sedative effect lasts for the first part of your sleep. Once the effect is off, alcohol will have the opposite effect.

Will one drink affect my sleep?

Drinking too much alcohol has numerous negative impacts on sleep. However, moderate alcohol consumption has less impact. From a study, low amounts of alcohol reduce sleep quality by 9.3%, moderate alcohol intake leads to reduced sleep quality by 24%, and high alcohol amount decreases sleep quality by 39.2%.

Drinking before bed is not a sleep aid, and it will affect your sleep. You can reduce the effects of alcohol in your body by taking vitamin B complex and making lifestyle changes. Make sure you consult your doctor before taking supplements. Contact us today to find out how our products can help.

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