Alcohol has always been a recognized way for people to enjoy themselves. Nowadays, whether it be for pleasure or due to social pressure, alcohol has become even more a part of our society. Younger people started to drink more and more, and more people are becoming dependant to alcohol each and every day. However, it comes at a cost: alcohol ruins your sleep.
In this article, I am not going to talk about the benefits or risks of drinking alcohol. In fact, I don’t drink alcohol at all, so it does not concern me.
However, I recently learned from a book that alcohol can have huge impact on your sleep quality, and if you’ve known me for a while, you must be aware that I’m very serious regarding a particular area of my health: my sleep.
Indeed, sleeping is what you are going to do one-third of your life. Since it’s inevitable, shouldn’t we try to get the best out of it?
Although it doesn’t benefit me in any way, I figured that it might benefit you. That’s why I decided to warn you on how alcohol ruins your sleep.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should cut alcohol out of your life. There is a balance between not drinking at all and drinking too much. Hopefully, this article will make you realize how harmful alcohol can be on sleep, so that you can be aware of it when you decide to drink.
Alcohol Both Helps And Kills Your Sleep
Do you like to drink before going to bed? Good, because studies have shown that drinking alcohol late in the evening can allow you to fall asleep faster. Alcohol works as a depressant, and so makes you sleep like baby, at first at least.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here. The fact of the matter is that studies also showed that drinking alcoholo late in the evening, not only helps you fall asleep faster, but also disrupted one very important sleep cycle: the REM sleep.
REM sleep is very important as it’s the moment of your sleep when you convert your short-term memories into long-term memories. In short, a deficiency in REM sleep will lead to hardship learning, focusing, and retaining information the following day.
It Confuses Your Body
In order to determine if you need to sleep or not, your body has a whole regulating-mechanism called ‘Sleep Homeostasis’. Its role is to make sure your body has a balance between staying awake and being asleep.
When your body decides that you need sleep, it will automatically produce adenosine to force you to go to sleep.
However, researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that alcohol actually disrupts your sleep by throwing off your sleep homeostasis. Alcohol raises your adenosine levels artificially, which confuses your sleep homeostasis: is it time or not to go to bed? That’s the question your whole body wants an answer for.
Pradeep Sahota, chair of the Missouri University School of Medicine says that: “Based on our results, it’s clear that alcohol should not be used as a sleep aid.”
In addition to this conclusion, the researchers also found that after extended periods of frequent drinking, the subjects would wake within a few hours and would be unable to fall back asleep.
From all the information so far, we’ve had confirmation that sleep does have a harmful effect on sleep. Although it has a benefit in helping you sleep faster, the real issues start to appear gradually during the night.
According to researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, there is a strong link between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists at NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that losing just one night of sleep led to an increase in beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with impaired brain function and Alzheimer’s disease.
Participants’ brains were scanned after getting a full night’s rest and after a night of sleep deprivation (about 31 hours without sleep). They found that beta-amyloid increased about 5% in the participants’ brains after losing a night of sleep. (Beta-amyloid is a metabolic waste product that’s found in the fluid between brain cells (neurons). A build-up of beta amyloid is linked to impaired brain function and Alzheimer’s disease.)
There is no direct link between alcohol and Alzheimer’s disease with that information. However, the reason I brought it up is due to the fact that it is suggested that lack of sleep, which can be caused by alcohol consumption, can increase your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Straight To The Bathroom
As any other beverage, drinking alcohol close to bedtime will trigger the human need to go to the bathroom. You should always make sure you give yourself some time after drinking to urinate. Furthermore, alcohol being a diuretic, it increases you need to urinate. For every alcoholic drink you have, your body can expel up to four times as much liquid.
As long as you are aware of it and plan it out, there shouldn’t be any issue regarding sleep disruption caused by your human needs.
Worsen Sleep Apnea
Sleep specialist Reena Mehra says that alcohol decreases muscle tone in the upper airway ; breathing-related issues (such as sleep apnea) intensify after a couple of drinks. As people suffering from sleep apnea tend stop breathing more frequently and for longer periods after drinking, it becomes extremely dangerous.
As written above, there are many ways in which alcohol can negatively impact your sleep. The purpose of this article was to try to raise your awareness so that you’re fully aware of what’s coming after a boozy night. Sleep disruptions, bad sleep quality, and an enhanced irresistible need to go to the bathroom at night.
Fortunately, there’s a solution for you not to have a hangover: drink (water, that is.) Antonyo Giglo, wine expert, recommends that you ”drink at least 8 ounces of water with no ice to make sure you pace yourself and don’t overindulge” for you to recover fast.
Ultimately, alcohol is like everything else: it starts getting harmful and dangerous when you abuse it. As long as you drink moderately (once in a while) there shouldn’t be any problem.