I Drank, I Slept, Why Am I Not Rested?

Wine bottle and mattress

Bottle of wine in a hand between bedsheets.

This topic is close to home for me.  As a home-brewer, I am interested in the ties between alcohol and sleep and how one affects the other.  Of course, I realize that yes if I drink too much I will pay for it in many ways, whether it be immediate, or in the morning, that price will be paid.  

Alcohol inhibits REM Sleep, the deeper restorative cycle of the sleep cycle.  While alcohol does appear to help you get to sleep faster due to its calming effect, it stops helping when it comes to allowing you into a deeper state of sleep.  The REM cycle of sleep is thought to be the recovery cycle of sleep in which your body flushes toxins from itself, and in which most dreams occur.  

Your Circadian Rhythm is affected by alcohol intake also.  Reason for this is that alcohol intake increases production of adenosine, a sleep-producing chemical in your body.  This helps in falling asleep faster, however, the chemical release is abrupt and ends quickly which may cause an early awakening before you are fully rested. 

Another big factor in rest/sleep and alcohol intake is having to go to the bathroom more. Alcohol is a diuretic.  It causes your body to want to shed water and liquid.  Most regular nights your body will put your bladder into a hibernation stage, however, with alcohol present, your body wants to shed the water which causes more bathroom trips while you’re trying to get rest.

The studies done to show the affects of alcohol are done with an amount of alcohol more than two beers or two glasses of wine.  The affects of one or two glasses of wine/beer are nominal when it comes to sleep. There should be caution though in considering alcohol a sleeping aid.  It is not meant to be a sleeping aid, you must remember that it will cost you deeper sleep in the long run. 

About the author:

Javier is the owner of the Sleep Well, a professionally trained sleep store, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around four great dogs and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.