It is common knowledge that drinking alcohol can make you drowsy, but this has led to some misconceptions about how alcohol affects sleep. In fact, many people believe that drinking alcohol helps drinkers with getting a good night’s rest. However, this is unfortunately not the case. Here are 5 ways alcohol affects your sleep.
1. Alcohol Makes You More Tired
Everyone knows that feeling drowsy is a common side effect of having a few cocktails. This is due to the fact that consuming alcohol causes an increase in Adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that induces drowsiness. Although Adenosine makes people feel the need to go to bed, the rise in Adenosine while drinking alcohol has led to one major misconception. This misconception is that consuming alcohol helps you sleep, which is false.
2. Alcohol Messes Up The Sleep Cycle
Drinking alcohol messes up the natural progression of the sleep cycle, which is the main reason behind alcohol negatively affecting alcohol drinkers’ sleep. It has been proven that drinking alcohol suppresses stages 3 and 4 of this cycle, which is where deep sleep occurs. In addition to this, alcohol is known to suppress REM sleep and stage 1 of the next sleep cycle.
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This reduces body repair that occurs during REM sleep and makes you more likely to wake up as the cycle makes its second round. All of this adds up to having a poor quality of sleep with the potential of waking up frequently throughout the night.
3. Alcohol Can Make You Snore
In addition to negatively impacting the sleep-wake cycle, alcohol has also been known to make alcohol drinkers snore. This is due to alcohol’s muscle relaxant properties. Snoring makes you, and others, more likely to wake up throughout the night due to the noise. You may also experience some minor breathing difficulty, which will wake you as well.
4. Physical Aspects That Will Wake You Up At Night
Drinking alcohol has some physical side effects that are likely to wake you up at night as well. These include an increase in urination and increased dehydration. This means that you are more likely to have to get up to go to the bathroom throughout the night. In addition to this, increased dehydration will likely give you the urge to get yourself a glass of water during the night.
5. Insomnia Is A Common Withdrawal Symptom
“It is important to note that experiencing insomnia is extremely common during both an alcohol and drug detox. Hence the importance of medically-supervised detox”, says Terri Edwards, COO at Briarwood Detox. This is due to disruptions in brain chemistry, which also results in further disruptions in the sleep cycle. Luckily, there are some ways that you can combat this withdrawal symptom. The most common remedy to insomnia is exercise, specifically weight lifting.
Alcohol has some major negative effects on sleep. These include disrupting and suppressing various parts of the sleep cycle and causing physical symptoms that will likely wake sleepers such as snoring and dehydration. As a result of these effects that alcohol has on the sleep cycle, insomnia is a common withdrawal symptom during alcohol detox.