Most Americans tend to take a glass or two of wine or beer before bedtime, while watching their favorite show on television or while reading, in the hope of catching up on their sleep. While drinking right before bedtime may initially help people fall asleep earlier, the link between alcohol and sleep is much more complicated than this.
When an individual consumes alcohol, the body takes, on an average, an hour to absorb it in the system. So if an individual takes two drinks, it will subsequently take two hours for the body to metabolize the drink. The consequences of consuming drinks closer to bedtime can be felt after two hours making the person feel tired and sleep-deprived. Presented below are some studies that explain why this happens.
Two drinks before bedtime impacts sleep time lag
A past study suggested that when an individual drank closer to bedtime, there was a marked reduction in time lag before the onset of sleep. In other words, drinking before bedtime decreased the time it took to induce sleep and also led to reduced rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. While drinking may initially reduce the time taken to fall asleep, it may largely impact an individual’s REM sleep later.
The study also revealed that the time of day when one drinks, also impacted the sleep pattern. For instance, if an individual drank alcohol at 4 a.m., they were likely to remain more awake and the amount of time they spend in stage 2 sleep also reduced. On the other hand, if an individual drank at 10 a.m., 4 p.m., or 10 p.m., it did not impact the sleep pattern as adversely as is impacted by drinking just before bedtime in the wee hours.
Two drinks before bedtime impact REM sleep
A 2018 study, published in the journal Neurology, revealed that people consuming two drinks before bedtime were more susceptible to disturbed REM sleep compared to those individuals who drank less. They were 23 percent more susceptible to developing REM problems compared to those individuals who did not drink at all.
This finding holds a lot of importance because REM is considered to be a significant factor responsible for the overall brain function as well as for inducing relaxed sleep. REM sleep is connected to an individual’s memory and their capacity to retain information. When this sleep cycle is disturbed, it can lead to major cognitive issues in an individual when they are awake.
Two drinks before bedtime impact an individual’s brainwaves during slumber
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), drinking alcohol before bedtime is connected with higher delta activity (slow-wave sleep patterns) in the brain. Delta activity is responsible for memory and learning in human beings.
Further, when an individual consumes alcohol before bedtime, the alpha activity of the brain gets triggered. Usually, alpha activity in the brain is not initiated during sleep, but when an individual is resting. Drinking aggravates both the alpha and delta activity in the brain thereby impacting the sleep pattern and sleep quality of an individual.
Two drinks before bedtime may initially help to fall asleep, but disturbs rest
According to the Handbook of Clinical Neurology, if an individual takes two drinks before bedtime, it reduces the sleep onset lag time and also alters the sleep architecture during nighttime. This is the time when the blood alcohol levels of an individual increase leading to disturbed sleep thereby impacting their rest time.
In other words, while an individual may drink before bedtime, they may sleep earlier initially, but as the night progresses, their sleep would get disturbed and they may feel less rested and wake up feeling groggy. This happens because alcohol acts as a sedative leading to sleep, but as the body processes the alcohol, it leads to higher blood alcohol content, which in turn disturbs sleep.
Drinking before bedtime aggravates snoring
Drinking before bedtime also increases snoring. According to science, snoring induced by alcohol consumption at bedtime, is aggravated in men as compared to women. A past study revealed that women with lower BMIs were more likely to snore at night if they consumed alcohol before bedtime.
Another study revealed that people who drank moderately or heavily, were at a 25 percent increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. This study reviewed around 21 experiments which were conducted between 1985 and 2015. So although taking two drinks before bedtime may not seem to be too much, it can heavily impact an individual’s sleep pattern.
Seeking help for alcoholism
Alcoholism can affect anybody irrespective of gender, age, or social standing. One of the stepping stones for effective recovery from alcohol addiction is detoxification. The detoxification process helps purge all toxins accumulated in the body owing to years of alcohol consumption.
In case you or a loved one is battling an addiction to alcohol and is looking for credible alcohol abuse treatment centers, then get in touch with 24/7 Alcohol Abuse Help. Call us at our 24/7 alcohol abuse helpline 866-480-6873 or chat online with our experts to get connected with the best detox treatment center near you for furthering the treatment and taking the first step towards sobriety.