Did you know alcohol does a number on your quality of sleep? If you have any doubt, check out today’s guest post by Kaity Nakagoshi, the online community director for a sleep center.
An average adult is supposed to sleep between 7.5 and 8 hours every night. Lack of enough sleep can result in very serious consequences, including but not limited to: impaired breathing, heart disease and depressive disorders.
Other symptoms of sleep disorders include memory deficits, daytime sleepiness, impaired occupational and social function and even car crashes. Alcohol can also induce sleep disorders, even though it is a common misperception that alcohol “helps” people fall sleep.
The Relationship Between Alcohol & Sleep
- Alcohol consumption induces sleep disorders by mainly disrupting the sequence and duration of your sleep. This alters the total time slept, as well as sleep latency, which refers to the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
- Alcohol consumed a few hours before bedtime will disrupt the second part of your sleep. By continuing to consume alcohol an hour before sleep may lead to daytime fatigue and sleepiness. The elderly are even at higher risk because they get higher levels of alcohol in their blood and brains.
- It has been determined that alcohol consumed six hours before bedtime will increase wakefulness during the second phase of sleep. This is because by the time you’re in that stage, the alcohol consumed earlier will have been eliminated from the body.
- Alcohol intake increases the risk of sleep apnea, especially in people who snore. A high consumption of alcohol will result in a narrow passage of air, causing mild sleep apnea, even in those who are not typical sufferers.
- An abrupt decrease in alcohol consumption may lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which is often accompanied by insomnia and sleep fragmentation. Unfortunately, despite improvements after the initial withdrawal, your sleep pattern may never return to normal.
Improve Overall Sleep Health
In addition to being aware of when and how much alcohol you consume before bed, there are several other factors to consider if you really want to get the best night’s sleep possible.
Regularity: It is important to get in the habit of getting into bed at relatively the same time every night. It is easy to stray away from this effort on the weekends but it is highly recommended that you remain consistent.
Wake-Up Call: In reality, if you are getting the proper amount of uninterrupted sleep, you shouldn’t even need an alarm. Since we rely so heavily on them, it is best practice to set it for the same time every day. On the weekends, don’t let the time change by that much otherwise your body will be forced to play “catch up”.
Environment: If you are unable to avoid disturbing noises such as loud neighbors or city traffic, consider purchasing a special sound machine to drain out the annoying noises. You can also try creating your own “white noise” with fans or just opt for earplugs.
Temperature: Your bedroom temperature significantly affects your sleep. The best temperature for your bedroom is whatever makes you feel comfortable while in bed and under the covers.
About the Author
This article was provided by Kaity Nakagoshi, the Online Community Director for a Tampa sleep center, that also specializes in pulmonary health. Kaity is a native Floridian, a University of South Florida graduate, and a social media “socialite”. Some of her favorite things include hot yoga, Pinkberry, and neon colors.
Do you find that alcohol affects your sleep?