Alcohol & Sleep

“Alcohol helps me to sleep”

Although in part this may be true for some, alcohol is known to disrupt our natural sleep cycles. We may drift off to sleep quicker, that part is true for most healthy individuals, but our quality of sleep is poor.  
Drinking alcohol delays entering REM sleep, therefore, reducing the amount of time spent in this stage of sleep.
What is REM sleep and why is it so important?
REM Sleep stands for Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. A review of studies suggests that it is important for learning, consolidating memories and regulating our mood. Disruption to REM sleep can lead to lapses in memory, decreased creativity and irritability, as well as daytime drowsiness and increased stress.  
It has also been suggested that alcohol may contribute to sleep apnoea. It causes muscles in the throat to relax, therefore, creating more resistance when trying to breathe. Not only will this keep you awake, but the heavy breathing and loud snoring will be sure to keep others awake too.
Finding yourself going to the toilet more during the night and waking feeling dehydrated? Alcohol may be playing a part here too. Alcohol is a diuretic encouraging you to produce more urine and sweat during the night.  

How to improve your sleep?

Stick to a routine
Keeping a routine will help you to fall asleep more easily and wake feeling more refreshed. It supports you to relax and can reduce sleep anxiety after a busy day.
Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink or Introduce Alcohol Free days.
Create the right environment
Creating the right environment is vital. Things to consider: Temperature. It’s always difficult to sleep when you’re either too hot or too cold. Lighting: The darker the better. Exposure to light can cause our bodies to think it’s time to be awake. Noise: Cancel out all noise where possible! Close windows, sound proof flooring with rugs and turn off anything electronic.  
Create a sanctuary
Make your bedroom a haven of tranquillity. It’s important when you walk into your bedroom to feel relaxed. Fill it with all the things you love; cushions, throws, pictures! And keep it tidy! It has been suggested that clutter can affect our anxiety levels, sleep, and ability to focus.
Want to Drink a Little Less but not sure how? Lacking in motivation? One You Lincolnshire can help. Visit: www.oneyoulincolnshire.org.uk
The information and advice within this blog are not intended to replace any medical advice, with all our clients we seek to address their individual needs and circumstances - this includes any adaptations required for long- or short-term health conditions and medications. Please seek medical advice if you have any health conditions before considering a lifestyle change. If you would like to address any of the content of this blog, please email us at hello@oneyoulincolnshire.org.uk 

Laura Bell, Drink Less Lead

February 15, 2021

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