Drinking and Sleeping

Drinking and Sleeping-image


Does Alcohol Affect Sleep?


There are those who became alcoholics because they thought it would help them sleep. There are those who cannot sleep because they are alcoholics. The conclusion arrived at by most is that sleep and alcohol do not complement each other. Some would argue that a glass of wine with dinner does no harm. That may be true if dinner is at 6:00 p.m. and bedtime is 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. A Later dinner followed by several drinks followed by sleep will likely result in an interruption of sleep about halfway through the night.

There is a jogger I once knew who was up and out running by 5:30 a.m. six mornings out of seven. She conducted her own experiment with alcohol, sleep and performance. One drink did not make it harder to wake up and get out the door. She was not aware of waking up during the night. However, she did feel tired during her run and each time she consumed alcohol before bed she ran slower the following morning. It took her two or three minutes longer to complete her regular circuit. It was not a big enough deal to give up a drink if she wanted one but it did make her aware that alcohol does hamper performance.

Alcohol disrupts rapid eye movement sleep (REM). It keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep so you do not get the deep sleep your body needs to restore itself. You will feel less alert and be less productive during the day, as well as sleepy. That condition places you are at higher risk of an accident or injury. Having a few drinks after work each night may seem harmless but the sleep deprivation that you are unknowingly experiencing may eventually lead to serious health issues.

Young adults do have the physical ability to tolerate higher levels of alcohol in the blood and brain. Many of us will remember when those days went by the wayside. We could no longer go to work directly from a party. One drink begins to have the same effect as three. Then one day it is just too difficult and you start going home after work and going to bed on time. That happens about the same time life becomes serious, which works out well for all.

This website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Live & Sleep is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health