Tips for great sleep

Alcohol and Sleep – Skip The Nightcap

March 22nd, 2016

Although alcohol sometimes helps to induce sleep, drinking alcohol actually prevents you from getting a full night’s rest. The effects of alcohol last longer than you might think. Drinking in the afternoon can interfere with your sleep that night. Moderation and timing are keys to minimizing the sleep-robbing effects of alcohol.

Not a sleep enhancer

Alcohol is frequently used as a sleep aid. Estimates vary, but as many as 15 percent of people may use alcohol to help them sleep. Among people with insomnia, that number is estimated to be significantly higher. While it’s true that alcohol can help relax you so you drift off to sleep, it ultimately gets in the way of good night’s rest by interrupting your normal sleep patterns.

Changes to the body

As the alcohol you’ve consumed metabolizes into sugar, rising glucose levels can cause wakefulness, fragmenting your sleep. Since alcohol causes dehydration, you may also find yourself awake due to extreme thirst.
Yet another cause of interrupted sleep is a full bladder, thanks to alcohol’s diuretic effects. With all of alcohol’s negative effects on your body, it’s easy to see why you’re likely to find yourself awake a few hours after going to bed if you’ve been drinking.

Effects that linger for hours

On average, it takes about one hour to metabolize one drink but the effects described above can linger much longer, depending on your weight, gender, and health.
Even if plenty of time has passed between the afternoon “happy hour” and your bedtime, chances are your sleep will be fragmented and you’ll wake up frequently. Evidence suggests alcohol produces changes in the body’s mechanism of sleep regulation, including alterations to normal periods of deep sleep and REM sleep, the two most restorative sleep phases.

Drinking and snoring

Alcohol can also increase the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring because it relaxes the muscles of the upper airway. So not only does the person who had a few drinks lose sleep, so does his or her sleep partner!

The morning after

Don’t forget what it feels like the “morning after” you’ve indulged. Since you didn’t get a good night’s sleep and you’re probably dehydrated as well, you can’t expect to look or feel your best the next day. The more alcohol you consume, the worse these effects may be.

Habitual sleep problems

If alcohol consumption becomes a habit, its sleep-inducing effect can decrease, while its disruptive effects can increase. With regular drinking, sleep problems and daytime fatigue can become persistent.

The evidence is clear: even though many of us believe alcohol works like the sandman, it’s really an enemy of sleep.
So, remember, for a really good snooze, you might want to skip the booze.

* ResMed recorded and analysed 2,000,000 nights of sleep in the development of S+

** Users with average sleep scores between 50-60 improved their sleep by an average of 44.71 minutes per night after one week of use.

*** Below average users are those with an average sleep score below 75. Poor sleep is defined as an average sleep score between 50-60. Very poor sleep is defined as an average sleep score between 30-50. Users with average sleep scores between 30-50 improved their sleep by more than 70 minutes per night after one week of use. Aggregate S+ user data as of 03/19/2015. All data is derived from a sample size of [5932] users as of 03/19/2015. Your results may be different.

Note: S+ is not a medical device. If you are seeking information on how to treat a sleep disorder, you should talk to your healthcare provider.