You Booze, You Don’t Snooze: How Alcohol Affects Your Sleep

Many of us who enjoy the occasional glass of wine or other alcohol beverage before bed do so because we think it helps us sleep better (and who doesn’t love some nighttime Niagara?). It can be tempting to have that nightcap every once in awhile, especially now that it’s summertime cocktail season. But how does alcohol really affect our sleep?

It turns out alcohol can make you fall asleep quicker, but overall it leads to a disruptive, restless sleep.  According to Chronobiology, “…while alcohol can trigger sleep, it prevents the type of high-quality sleep that leaves people feeling rested.” Chronobiology also states that a study has shown that people who drank a lot before bed fell asleep quickly but had less REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. They also woke up often during the night.

We’ve all heard the saying “quality over quantity”, but this isn’t exactly true when it comes to sleep. It’s important to get the right amount of sleep per night, about 8 hours, and get a restful, uninterrupted sleep. Consuming alcohol within a few hours before bedtime can lower the quality and quantity of your slumber.

Many people swear that red wine particularly makes them sleepy, but while alcohol can trigger sleep, this is not necessarily the case with red wine. According to Drinkedin, we associate red wine with sleep because of the social situations we tend to drink it in. Typically, people drink red wine slowly with heavy foods that can lead people to feeling more tired, but it is not the wine itself that induces sleep.

Next time you’re thinking about a nightcap, consider switching it to an early evening cap. Happy hour can be good for your pockets and your sleep.

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