Everyone knows that a nightcap can help you get a good night’s sleep. But if you rely on alcohol too much, you could be sabotaging your health in the long run. Find out how drinking alcohol affects your sleep, what you need to know, and how to stay healthy.
The Understandable Temptation to Rely on Alcohol for Sleep
Alcohol is a sedative which means it is calming and relaxing. That leads many people to believe that having a few drinks before bed is a good way to get a good night’s sleep. Alcohol also has an effect on your body’s production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
How Drinking Alcohol Affects Your Sleep Quality
Surprisingly, studies show that drinking alcohol before bed may affect the quality of your sleep. Alcohol can make you feel drowsy and you may fall asleep quicker. But once the effects of the alcohol wear off, sleep becomes increasingly fitful and fragmented, which prevents you from achieving deep, restful sleep. That’s why you may still feel groggy and sluggish even after a good night’s sleep.
The Dangers of Depending on Alcohol for Sleep
Alcohol may help you fall asleep quicker, but it doesn’t lead to a restorative sleep. Alcohol also has a dehydrating effect on your body, and can irritate your stomach lining. What’s even worse is that long-term alcohol abuse can increase your risk of developing insomnia, making it even harder to get a good night’s sleep.
Tips for Good Sleep without Alcohol
Here are some tips for getting good quality sleep without relying on alcohol.
- Limit caffeine: Don’t drink any caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, or soda for at least four hours before bedtime.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise can help you sleep better and more soundly.
- Establish a routine: Create a wind-down routine before going to bed, such as reading a book, listening to music, or taking a hot bath.
- Avoid screens: Try not to use your phone, tablet, or laptop at least an hour before bed.
Stay Healthy by Cutting Down on Alcohol
It’s possible to find natural and healthy ways to get a good night’s sleep without having to rely on alcohol. Having a drink on occasion is certainly not bad, but if you’re using alcohol as a way to fall asleep, it could be having a detrimental impact on your health. Remember, only use alcohol in moderation, and if you find yourself unable to sleep, cutting down on alcohol could be beneficial in the long run.