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Myth vs Fact: Does Alcohol Help You Sleep Better? Find Out The Truth

alcohol sleep

Alcoholic beverages, especially the ones which are slightly stiff or relatively warming, have been believed for centuries as unofficial sleep inducers. The term nightcap is believed to have been born out of the practice of having a tipple to have a good sleep. But the truth can be far from millennia-old beliefs. Here is a truth bomb we all need to know — alcohol doesn't help you sleep well, instead it lowers your quality of sleep and leads to dangerous illnesses.

Myth: An alcoholic drink before sleeping (nightcap) helps you fall asleep.

Reality

This is one of the biggest myths about personal health and alcoholic beverages. A boozy drink before sleeping does not help you get a good night's sleep. Below are a few facts that tell how alcohol consumption before sleep can lead to harmful diseases.

Fact 1: Alcohol actually lowers the body's capacity to achieve deep sleep, which is key to good health.

Fact 2: If you have a habit of drinking before sleeping, your quality of sleep will be affected. This would cause you to feel tired and sluggish. 

Fact 3: It may seem initially that alcohol makes you fall asleep, but the negative impact of drinking through the night outweighs the even notional benefit of alcohol helping you sleep.

Fact 4: The alcohol you have at night will cause you to spend less time in the important Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. This would cause you to feel less refreshed, and even a couple of drinks can lead to this impact.

Fact 5: If you have had a lot to drink, you will wake up with a hangover which causes tiredness, irritability and other issues.

sleep alcohol

Fact 6: Drinking can cause you to urinate multiple times and break your sleep.

Fact 7: Alcohol being a diuretic, makes the body lose fluids not only via urine, but through sweat as well, causing dehydration, and leading to a hangover.

Fact 8: Regularly drinking before sleep can cause stress to the body due to the lack of proper rest that good sleep provides. You will end up waking up more tired than feeling rested.

Fact 9: Regular drinking through the night can lead to serious diseases such as several types of cancer, heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure and stroke and impact your mental health as well.

Fact 10: Drinking can cause you to snore, as it relaxes muscles in the body. This can lead the tissues in your throat, mouth and nose to block air from flowing smoothly and make them vibrate.

Fact 11: Alcohol increases your risk of getting sleep apnea, a condition which narrows the airways and obstructs your breathing when you sleep. Sleep apnea, when left undiagnosed, can cause type 2 diabetes, depression, high blood pressure and increases the chances of having a stroke. It affects your mood, concentration and has other mental health impacts too.

sleep alcohol

Solutions

Do not drink before bed believing it will help you fall asleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, seek a medical professional's help. In case you have had a drink late at night, ensure you are not sleeping immediately after, and give your body the time to process the alcohol. This will help you get a better quality of sleep. It takes the human body an hour to process one unit of alcohol (this can vary from person to person). So six units of alcohol means it takes six hours to process in your body.

This shows the importance of consuming alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.
 

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