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4 Reasons Not To Drink Before Bedtime

November 27, 2013

4 Reasons Not To Drink Before Bedtime

Many of us like to have a glass of wine or a whisky and soda in the evenings, but even though we believe that this is a great way to relax, when it comes to sleep this is not exactly true. Don’t believe us? Then take a look at the 4 reasons why you should not drink before bed that we have listed below...

It's Especially Disruptive to Women

After an evening of drinking, women, in particular, are likely to be tossing and turning, a 2011 study found. Although everyone in the study drank until they were equally drunk (the researchers doled out drinks adjusted for gender and weight and measured intoxication by breath alcohol content), the female participants woke up more often during the night, stayed awake longer and slept for less time overall than the men. This might be because women metabolize alcohol more quickly -- meaning they speed through alcohol's sedative effects and get to that second, fragmented part of the night sooner.

It Reacts Badly with Sleep Aids, Both Prescription and Natural

Many prescription sleep medications should never be taken after drinking, including Ambien, Lunesta and other drugs often given to people suffering from insomnia. "Somebody could essentially stop breathing if they mix alcohol with any of those medications,” says Dr. Reena Mehra, a sleep-disorder specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. But even natural sleep aids and alcohol don't go well together: Melatonin, a chemical produced by the body to regulate circadian rhythms, which is taken as a supplement to improve sleep, can form a sort of biological echo chamber with alcohol, with each increasing the other's sedative effects.

It Has You Making Trips to the Bathroom

Alcohol is a potent diuretic, so those after-dinner cocktails can send you tiptoeing to the restroom several times during the night. And that late-night slice of pizza or order of cheese fries you had in an effort to soak up the booze and prevent a hangover (which, sad to say, doesn't work anyway -- the alcohol has long since gone into your bloodstream) can trigger acid reflux when you lie down, keeping you from falling asleep.

It Makes Sleep Problems You Already Have Even Worse

Alcohol decreases muscle tone in the upper airway, meaning that breathing-related sleep issues are exacerbated after you've had a couple of drinks, Mehra says. That's especially bad news for people with obstructive sleep apnea, who stop breathing for short periods during sleep when their airway is blocked: Since alcohol makes the airways especially collapsible, people suffering from sleep apnea tend stop breathing more frequently and for longer periods after drinking. The reduced muscle tone from even a couple of drinks also aggravates less serious, but more familiar, problems. "It worsens snoring," Mehra says. "I can attest to that with my husband."

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