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7th April 2021

Having trouble sleeping? Here’s how alcohol could be causing the problem

Do you struggle with getting a full night’s sleep? If so, the problem could lie with your diet – and specifically, alcohol!

Many people are unaware that having just one or two drinks is enough for your sleep to suffer. So here are our top four facts about the impact of alcohol on your sleep...

Alcohol can mess up your body clock

Alcohol can negatively affect your body’s natural circadian rhythm, the internal body clock which dictates your body’s functioning day-to-day. Alcohol consumption can reduce your biological clock’s ability to synchronise your daily activities to light and can disrupt your natural activity patterns. Reducing your alcohol consumption will make it much more likely that your natural circadian rhythms will work as they should.

If you drink alcohol you won’t sleep as deeply

It is true that alcohol can help you get to sleep, however the effect alcohol has on your body for the rest of the night is much more detrimental. In the first half of the night, you will be thrown into a deep sleep far quicker than usual. This may sound positive, but you are missing out on your REM stage of sleep, which helps with processing emotion and memory. In the second half of the night, when the alcohol starts to wear off, so does its sedative effects. This results in a lighter, less restful sleep, meaning you will wake up earlier and struggle to get back to sleep.

Alcohol can make you dehydrated

Alcohol is a diuretic, acting on the kidneys to make you urinate more fluid than you take in – which could lead to a restless night. Going to bed even slightly dehydrated can also lead to disruptive snoring due to a drier mouth. Alternating alcoholic drinks with water can help to balance out these effects and help limit the number of units you consume, meaning you will have a much more restful night’s sleep.

You will wake up in the middle of the night

The closer you consume alcohol to your bedtime, the bigger the impact it will have on your sleep. A less restful night’s sleep, combined with the diuretic effect of alcohol and its impact on your breathing, can leave you feeling tired the morning after. Leaving 2-3 hours between your last drink and your bedtime will give your body time to process the alcohol you’ve already consumed and result in a much better night’s sleep.

Have you noticed any improvements to your sleep health since reducing your alcohol intake? Let us know via our social media pages:

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