The Myth of Alcohol and Sleep

by | Aug 4, 2020 | Addiction

The Myth of Alcohol and Sleep

It seems to be common knowledge that alcohol can help you sleep. This, however, is not true. Just like it’s not a great idea to sip coffee before bed while scrolling on your phone, alcohol can actually impact the quality of your sleep. If you want to improve your sleep while also attempting to curb your alcohol intake, it’s a good idea to go without that glass of wine before bed. Here’s why.

Alcohol Shatters Your Body’s Rhythm

Although alcohol has sedative effects, it actually does more harm than good when it comes to sleep. Drinking alcohol at night, studies suggest, has been found to impact the quality and quantity of one’s sleep. Not only does it disrupt your body’s rhythm, it also limits the production of your body’s sleep hormone, melatonin.

Consuming alcohol also sends your liver into overdrive, so your body is working harder during the night when it is supposed to be resting. Perhaps the biggest sign that alcohol isn’t good for sleep is that it subdues rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This type of sleep is necessary for waking up refreshed, among other vital things.

You may even find your eyes popping open in the early morning after you have consumed alcohol the night before. This is because your body transitions to a lighter sleep during the second half of the night. Lastly, the more you begin to rely on alcohol’s sedative effects to help you fall asleep, the more your body will crave it. This means that when you do not have alcohol before bed, you’ll find yourself having a harder time falling asleep.

Lack of Good Sleep Is Problematic

We know that we need good sleep to have good outcomes in our recovery. The less we sleep, the more vulnerable we are to stress and mental health issues. If you are using alcohol to help you cope with these things, it’s time to seek help. This cycle can be dangerous. For example, you may be feeling the weight of stress and anxiety — so, you drink more.

Your sleep is negatively impacted as a result, however, so you begin to feel even more stress and anxiety. Then, you drink even more to help you fall asleep, but your sleep gets worse. It’s an endless cycle that no good can come from.

Break the Habit

If you want to break your habit of drinking alcohol before bed, you’re in the right place. First, find something that is going to motivate you to stop drinking alcohol. Find something or someone that can push you to be better. Of course, you don’t want to always be relying on outside forces for motivation. However, it can help get you started. Once you have that motivator, make sure you know what your triggers to drinking are.

If your biggest trigger is stress, try to limit the amount of stress in your life. Adopt healthier coping skills for when you’re feeling stressed, so that you can turn to those instead of a glass of wine. It’s going to be hard, though. Your brain will try to talk you into reaching for that drink. It’s not used to the lack of alcohol, but you know it is for the best. If you’re really struggling to stop drinking, reach out to a trusted friend or family member for help. Don’t force yourself to white-knuckle through it alone. Extra support is out there.

Hit the Reset Button

Once you’re in a routine of not drinking alcohol before bed — or at all — you’ll begin to notice that your body is beginning to reset itself. You’ll begin to feel more rested and energized when you wake up in the morning. You’ll probably feel less stressed, too. More good sleep will help you with concentration, too. Hitting the reset button is also about creating other healthy habits. One way you can do this is by limiting your screen time before bed. This will help you get in a restful mindset before your head hits the pillow.

Breathwork and Other Tips

One last thing that can be extremely beneficial is focusing on your breathing. Breathwork is a great way to soothe your body and mind, getting it ready to relax and drift off to sleep. Try breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing out deeply through your mouth. Make sure you’re slow and steady, not short and shallow. Doing some sort of meditation can also be helpful.

Focusing on the present moment can help you let go of your anxieties and stressors which is necessary for a good night’s sleep. Another thing you can do to help you sleep better is to focus on relaxing your mind and body. This can be through journaling at night, reading before bed, or taking a warm bath to help you relax. Whatever you do to help yourself wind down, be present in the moment and allow yourself to relax.

Sober Life is here to help you let go of your dependence on alcohol and try out new relaxation techniques to help you sleep well. We know the benefits of practicing healthier coping skills, and that alcohol isn’t good for us. We want to help you get and stay sober. Call us today at (619) 542-9542. We can’t wait to help you harness the power of your recovery today. Call us now to find out how our customized programs can meet your unique needs and help you through recovery.

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