Alcohol and sleep, an unreliable combination•
Posted on February 01 2021
Alcohol, a treacherous friend
All the studies done on alcohol consumption and sleep come to the same conclusion: after consuming alcohol, we fall asleep more quickly. This is true for people who have consumed a light dose (1 or 2 drinks), a moderate dose (2 to 4 drinks) or a high dose of alcohol (more than 4 drinks). More generally, we find that the calming effect of alcohol continues throughout the night. This is because people who have consumed alcohol wake up less often and for less time during the first few hours after falling asleep. While it can help with relaxation and falling asleep, the fact remains that alcohol and sleep do not mix because they lead to shortened and poor quality sleep. It disrupts the sleep cycle, exacerbates certain sleeping disorders and, in turn, affects awakening times.
A substance that leads to sleeping disorders
Alcohol consumption can aggravate certain sleeping disorders, including insomnia and sleep apnea. People who suffer from sleep apnea should significantly reduce their intake or even avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can cause the throat muscles to relax abnormally, which can lead to airway obstruction. It can also reduce the brain's ability to wake up and detect a lack of oxygen in the body. This reduction in capacity can lead to longer and more dangerous apnea.
The factors associated with insomnia vary widely, but alcohol is definitely one of the possible causes. In fact, alcohol consumption causes multiple awakenings, phase changes and a reduction in the amount of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep when multiple drinks have been consumed. Since insomniacs have difficulty falling back to sleep when they wake up at night, consuming alcohol is highly likely to stimulate the issue and lead to sleep insufficiency.
A simple but useful tip
For each glass of alcohol, drink at least one glass of water. Your body will clear out alcohol more easily, if you drink wine or a sugary drink, you will need even more because the sugar will also have to be flushed out.
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