A tall glass of Merlot before bedtime may just be the thing to help some people fall asleep. However, for those who covet quality sleep to tackle a new day’s task list with ample rest and a sharp mind, drinking alcohol prior to hitting the sack becomes counterproductive. Research on the relationship between alcohol and sleep suggests that consuming alcohol before going to bed results in more perturbed sleep throughout the sleep cycle and a shorter duration of deep sleep.
Although drinking alcohol shortens a person’s sleep onset latency (SOL), which is described as the time taken to transition from full wakefulness to a sleep state, it comes with a cost. The presence of alcohol in the system increases the number of times a person breaks his or her sleep and reduces the time spent in deep slumber, which are some of the pivotal factors that play a crucial role in ensuring efficient cognitive functioning and memory.
Due to both depressant and stimulant effects of alcohol, it may succeed in inducing sleep; however, it is not likely to warrant an undisturbed sleep. Therefore, it is essential to count one’s drinks to avoid dreadful sleepless nights that can emerge as a major hurdle in future.
Alcohol prevents body to recuperate through sleep
Prior research has demonstrated that the sleep cycles through many stages at an interval of 90 minutes and that deep sleep occurs in the second half of a person’s sleep cycle. Unfortunately, the process of filtering and expelling alcohol clashes with the occurrence of deep sleep. When the body is tasked with clearing excessive toxins from the system, it significantly affects its ability to get some rest through sleep.
Since alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, it has the ability to slow down brain functions and disrupt the functioning of nerve cells. This property of alcohol is demonstrated when a person loosens up and loses control over his or her finer motor skills shortly after drinking alcohol.
Because CNS depressants diminish stress and induce a state of calmness, individuals indulging in drinking experience chronic stress or the frequent bouts of anxiety are more susceptible to drinking alcohol. This not only reduces the quality of their life but also worsens their psychiatric symptoms in the long run.
Depending on a person’s metabolism and about two hours after his or her first drink, the body initiates the process of flushing out the alcohol from the system. When one consumes alcohol, it is viewed as a toxin by the body. This signals the egesting mechanism to rev up that extracts water from cells and discharges the stored alcohol via the kidneys and the bladder. These involuntarily nighttime activities can significantly lower the quality of sleep.
Alcohol also affects the production of the body’s antidiuretic hormones that are essential to control fluid balance by reducing urination. This is why a person who has consumed alcohol is found to take multiple trips to the bathroom. However, he or she may not be aware that a full bladder results in losing more electrolytes and a higher likelihood of disrupted sleep.
A combination of all these factors can lead to grogginess, lethargy and irritation. A person is likely to take a longer duration to reach the state of wakefulness. In addition, a person who experiences frequent disruption of sleep tends to be more exhausted and dehydrated, and displays a weaker cognitive functioning. Therefore, even if a person uses alcohol as a means to fall asleep, it does not unnecessarily guarantee that it will be a good solution.
Detoxing to get rid of alcohol
Individuals who are dependent on alcohol are at a risk of developing a variety of physical and mental health problems. Alcohol can also uniquely affect a person’s sleep pattern that can lead to cognitive impairment, fatigue and worsening of the symptoms of mental disorders. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention to prevent the problem from getting out of hand. Through an effective detoxification program, which is the stepping-stone to recovery, one can expunge the stored toxins and steadily achieve sobriety.