Alcohol: Does It Really Help Us Sleep?

Most of us adults know that we can get sleepy when we drink an alcoholic drink, it actually helps us fall asleep quite fast. However, the quality of sleep we get is really poor. The benefit of falling asleep fast is counteracted by the terrible sleep-quality we get with alcoholic beverages.

Why does alcohol make our sleep so ineffective? Alcohol affects the amount of time we have in deep sleep and in REM sleep, which are the sleep phases that help us recover as we need to. Therefore we get more of the first stages of sleep (1 and 2) which are less refreshing. Additionally, as alcohol levels in our blood decrease as time passes by, the second part of the night we are likely to wake up easily. Moreover, since it is diuretic (like coffee), we are likely to wake up and go to the bathroom, disrupting our sleep. And its effect does not stop there, alcohol can negatively-affect snoring or any breathing problems as it relaxes our muscles, including our throat muscles, and it interferes with our brain control mechanisms, even to a degree that could be dangerous…

What to do? limit our alcohol intake, we can have 1 to 2 drinks in a day and we can stop drinking about 3 hours before we go to sleep. Since we metabolize alcohol faster than caffeine, we can drink alcoholic beverages to a cut-off time closer to our sleep. When 3 hours have passed from our last drink to our sleep time, the effect is likely to have passed, so it will not really affect our sleep quality.