Not only does drinking alcohol leave me with a serious case of acid reflux, though—it also makes getting a good night’s sleep pretty difficult. That’s not surprising, given studies show alcohol negatively impacts sleep. Milk contains tryptophan, which helps increase melatonin levels and induce sleep. Drinking warm milk before bed is also a soothing nighttime ritual.
So you might find that drinking alcohol helps you to unwind and fall asleep more quickly. But studies have shown that alcohol actually disturbs your sleep. Your body alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep in cycles of about 90 minutes. “Deep sleep” is a form of non-REM sleep — and, as mentioned above, it’s the time when your body focuses on rebuilding tissue, bone, and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. But REM sleep (during which you dream) is also very important, moreso for your brain.
Research on older adults, aged 50 and older, found those who binge drank two days or less a week had 35% greater odds of insomnia compared to non-binge drinkers. Those who binge drank two days or more a week had a 64% greater chance of insomnia compared to non-binge drinkers. Thirdly, alcohol causes restless sleep, which, as well as adding to sleep debt, is less restorative than unbroken sleep and can make you feel more fatigued.
For a natural boost, consider eating more green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, meats, poultry, and fish, as they are all rich in this micronutrient. In general, maintaining a well-balanced diet, with an emphasis on lean proteins and diverse plant foods, can go a long way to enhancing your sleep, night-to-night. Before reaching for that glass, hear from the experts how alcohol before bed might affect your sleep. does liquor help you sleep Drinking to fall asleep regularly can build up a tolerance to alcohol, gradually lessening booze’s ability to help you drift off, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Alcohol is classified as a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows down brain activity. While “relaxed” may sound appealing, alcohol has also been shown to negatively affect sleep and other physiological processes that occur during sleep.
The homeostatic drive prompts sleep by boosting levels of adenosine when we’ve been awake for too long. REM sleep is vital for healthy brain development, the National Sleep Foundation noted. Not getting enough REM sleep can make concentrating difficult, cause forgetfulness and leave people feeling excessively sleepy during the day.
The researchers describe the effects of REM as “defragmenting the drive” — getting too little affects memory and concentration. The problem is that while alcohol is boosting deep sleep, it’s also reducing REM sleep. Unhealthy alcohol use and insomnia are very commonly co-occuring conditions. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing starts and stops throughout the night, often resulting in snoring and reduced quality of sleep. Alcohol can relax your upper airway muscles, exacerbating sleep apnea symptoms.