It is imperative to understand the link between alcohol and sleep to make more health-conscious decisions to ensure your well-being and live a long, fulfilled life. Even though it might be alluring and even normalized to drink casually before bed, it is not healthy to rely on alcohol as a sleep aid or stress reliever.
The truth is that consuming alcohol before sleep will disrupt the quality of your rest, possibly leave you hungover, and may even increase the likelihood of developing long-term chronic health conditions. Even if you drink infrequently and in small amounts, alcohol and sleep still don’t mix.
Many have heard the benefits of “restful sleep,” but there’s much more to understand. Many people struggle with sleep, whether that means falling or staying asleep. These sleep disturbances can be due to inner psychological states or underlying medical issues that can make attaining quality sleep more difficult. When alcohol induces sleep, it acts like a temporary Band-Aid that masks underlying bleeding wounds.
Alcohol may seem like a blissful, short term and legal escape from the chaos of everyday life. Still, many don’t realize the dangers of even casual use. Marketing done by the alcohol industry majorly attributes to chronic use and the general societal acceptance of alcohol to unwind and celebrate. To make matters worse, the alcohol industry (a billion-dollar marketplace) has become savvier by marketing with feel-good buzzwords to distract consumers from the dangerous truth.
It’s time to wake up to the bleak reality alcohol consumption brings. Alcohol impacts how we sleep and the way we enter the next day. It affects our actions, how we treat our families, and our work performance. Yet, alcohol remains the most widely accepted and used substance in America.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the relationship between alcohol and sleep, its effects on sleep long and short term, and why having poor sleep habits can lead to less-than-favorable outcomes in life. Additionally, we will explore why nightly drinking can be a step toward lifelong dependency and potential addiction.
Through research and exploring what we know about how alcohol and sleep, we hope this blog by GateHouse Treatment empowers you to make more informed decisions about drinking before bed. In doing so, you can protect your body and ensure you get the restful sleep that your body truly needs and deserves.
How Alcohol Impacts Sleep
Many are aware of the immediate effects of alcohol, like impaired judgment, slurred speech, and decreased coordination. Alcohol includes other effects like euphoria, perceived relaxation, and reduced inhibition. However, many are not aware of the ramifications of alcohol on sleep. Some suggest that alcohol helps them fall asleep. While that may seem true, this doesn’t fully disclose alcohol’s effects on sleep.
For many, our favorite nightly indulgence may significantly impact our lives more than we realize. Studies show that alcohol consumption can drastically interfere with sleep, particularly cycles and our ability to access deep rest. Alcohol disturbs our time spent in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. This sleep phase is critical for repairing our bodies and promoting learning and memory. Without proper REM, individuals are more prone to experience unpleasant feelings like impaired cognitive function, daytime fatigue, and general irritability.
Alcohol use is especially concerning when we consider the vital role that sleeps plays in our overall physical and mental health, ultimately touching on every area of life. As parents, students, and influential professionals, it’s essential not to overlook the role alcohol plays in worsening our sleep and daily experiences.
Poor sleep also increases our risk of developing chronic diseases, like obesity and diabetes, while negatively impacting our memory and decision-making abilities. Additionally, hangovers (a product of alcohol consumption) are due to increased dehydration and toxins. The side effects of poor sleep are far-reaching and continually unveiled.
Marketing Tactics Glorifying Alcohol Consumption
Marketing tactics that portray alcohol as the ultimate solution for serenity and unwinding have been around for years. However, as the cultural conversation around mindful living has gained traction, the alcohol industry has adapted. By utilizing marketable buzzwords like “organic” and “low sugar,” companies sell the concept that their drinking can be “cleaner,’ and “healthier.”
While, at first glance, these changes may seem like a step in the appropriate direction by promoting a healthier approach to consumption, they are strategies aimed at seducing consumers into thinking that drinking alcohol can be beneficial or safe. This type of marketing is dangerous because it contributes to the normalization of heavy drinking and alcoholism. It also uses unethical methods to target specific demographics and populations, leading to drastic, fatal consequences.
Marketing encourages consumers to use alcohol to soothe stress, motherhood, or work life rather than seeking more sustainable and healthy coping mechanisms like discussing stress or sleep challenges with an experienced provider. By recognizing and rejecting the idea that alcohol enhances sleep and life overall, we can take a small step towards a more informed and conscious approach to drinking or abstaining.
Additional Dangers of Consuming Alcohol Before Sleep
Additionally, alcohol can worsen snoring and sleep apnea in some, leading to decreased oxygen levels and an increased risk of heart problems. Finally, drinking before bedtime can increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries, such as falls, burns, or even blackouts, leading to more extreme outcomes. While a glass of wine or hard selzer may seem unoffending, it’s essential to recognize the potential risks and prioritize healthy habits instead.
Furthermore, alcohol addiction is insidious and potentially dangerous for many, meaning it slowly creeps up on you without realizing it. It starts with one drink before bed, and before long, you’re relying on more and more alcohol to fall asleep. Those most likely to experience alcohol use disorder turn to alcohol to cope or to decompress after a difficult day or experience. General dependency happens over time.
Alcohol and Sleep Don’t Mix
It’s important to remember that alcohol can disrupt sleep and lead to more problems in the long run. It’s a short-term solution with long-standing consequences. While not everyone who drinks nightly will experience addiction or physical dependency, by recognizing the signs of alcohol addiction, you can seek help early on or begin to moderate.
It is possible to abstain from the routine nightcaps turned problematic and start getting the essential sleep your body and mind need to thrive. Carefully examine your habits and evaluate potential next steps to a healthier life.
Sleep is Important
Humans tend to underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Deprioritizing sleep is typical, considering the demands of life today, which often include family dynamics, long hours, and future-oriented planning. But sleep is an instrumental component of a healthy life. Not only does sleep help us stay aware, alert, and focused throughout the day, but it also aids in physical and mental regeneration.
Sadly, many casual consumers of alcohol have a limited understanding of how harmful their seemingly harmless habits are. This restricted knowledge is done purposefully by companies profiting from dependency and purchases. While a couple of drinks may help us temporarily feel more relaxed after an exhausting day, it is essential not to overlook the effects of alcohol on our sleep and entire life.
A little bit of knowledge about the impact of alcohol on rest goes a long way toward promoting healthier habits and, ultimately, a happier you. Please share what you learn with others, and watch their sleep improve too!
Get Your Life Back with GateHouse Treatment
GateHouse Treatment recognizes that alcohol addiction can be complicated and sometimes even normalized. If you suspect alcohol consumption is causing problems in your life or even sleep, discussing your circumstances with a specialist may be best.
Don’t hesitate to contact GateHouse Treatment for assistance regarding your experience with alcohol and other substance use. You deserve support and care without judgment while considering your options for freedom from addiction.
We can provide all the compassion and support you need to ensure this moment becomes an aspect of your recovery story rather than another dark chapter.
Contact us at (855) 448-3588 or here for more information.
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