Can t Sleep After Drinking Alcohol - Top 5 Sleep Killers and Why You Can't Sleep at Night

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Can t Sleep After Drinking Alcohol

There are a few things people take on a regular basis that can absolutely destroy their sleep cycles without them knowing it. And some of those substances might come as surprise to you because you may think they usually help you relax and fall asleep. But the opposite is true. Not only are those substances bad for your health in general, but they also are bad for your sleep. Can t Sleep After Drinking Alcohol

Listen, if you want to improve your sleep dramatically and you are currently doing one or more of the things listed below, I urge you to stop doing them. And if you can't stop, find some help. But it is absolutely critical that you get rid of those bad habits. So here is a list of what not to do, and why you shouldn't do it.

1. Alcohol: Yes I know exactly what you are thinking and I can already here you. "But I have a glass of wine or two at night and it actually helps me sleep". False, false and more false. Alcohol, after stimulating you, will make you sleepy, drowsy and might help you pass out faster, but you will remain in the first phases of sleep (light sleep), and never enter deep restorative sleep. Because of its sedating effect, people with sleep problems tend to drink at night. But even though you may think the results are positive because you were able to fall asleep faster, they are in fact rather negative, because alcohol will actually disturb your sleep cycles and phases. Plus alcohol should not be something you rely upon to fall asleep.

Here is another interesting fact: if you thought drinking earlier in the day would not affect your sleep well think again. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa41.htm) "Alcoholic beverages are often consumed in the late afternoon (e.g., at "happy hour" or with dinner) without further consumption before bedtime. Studies Roehrs, T., and Roth, T. Alcohol-induced sleepiness and memory function. Alcohol Health Res World 19(2):130-135, 1995) show that a moderate dose of alcohol consumed as much as 6 hours before bedtime can increase wakefulness during the second half of sleep. By the time this effect occurs, the dose of alcohol consumed earlier has already been eliminated from the body, suggesting a relatively long-lasting change in the body's mechanisms of sleep regulation" Landolt, H.-P., et al. Late-afternoon ethanol intake affects nocturnal sleep and the sleep EEG in middle-aged men. J Clin Psychopharmacol 16(6):428-436, 1996; Vitiello, M.V. Sleep, alcohol and alcohol abuse. Addict Biol (2):151-158, 1997.)

Another interesting fact about alcohol, is that it actually inhibits the secretion of a hormone called ADH (Anti Diuretic Hormone), which when in normal levels makes you retain the appropriate amount of water. But when you drink alcohol, this hormone stops being produced, and therefore your body looses more water than it should. This is called dehydration. So what does it mean for you? Well the more alcohol you drink, the more your body will dehydrate and this has 2 consequences:

1. When you are dehydrated, you can't sleep well and wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.

2. You wake up in the middle of the night with the urge to urinate.

So here are 2 more ways alcohol disrupts your sleep. Knowing all this, we can come to the conclusion you will be better off without drinking alcohol at all. Does that sound too hard for you? Well you make the choice: the pleasure of booze or restful healthy deep restorative sleep. Can t Sleep After Drinking Alcohol

2. Nicotine: Do you smoke? Do you find you need that last cigarette at night otherwise you just can't relax from the busy day you had and won't be able to fall asleep. Maybe as you are reading these words it's late, you can't sleep and you have a cigarette between your fingers. Well let me tell you something interesting: just as I said it with alcohol, you'd be better off without it. So put it out right now! Yes you heard me; that last cigarette of the day that is supposed to relax you, will in fact have just the opposite effect.

If you are under the impression the cigarettes you smoke actually help you relax, you have been fooled. Nicotine is a stimulant!

Nicotine stimulates your nervous system, and instead of helping you sleep, it is going to keep you awake and tossing and turning in bed. It has the same effect as drinking a cup of coffee.

Smokers will usually stay in a light sleep and spend less time in deep restorative sleep, and may not even enter deep sleep. Nicotine also reduces the amount of REM sleep. You should now be well aware of the health dangers this leads to. Nicotine withdrawal (the decrease of nicotine level in the body and the need to replenish it) usually tends to wake up the smoker 3 to 4 hours after falling asleep. Long-term chronic smokers may also develop respiratory problems and cough, which greatly interferes with sleep. I remember a man I had met some years ago, a chronic smoker; he had been smoking 1 pack and a half a day for many years. He would cough so much at night he wouldn't sleep; he couldn't lay down more than 10 minutes without coughing and also had trouble breathing. The scary part is he was only 45 years old. So if you are a smoker and would like to improve your sleep, you know what to do! I am not telling you to quit cold turkey; you could at least stop smoking 1 or 2 hours before going to sleep. I know to some of you this seems impossible; well would you rather remain with your sleep problem?

A last word on cigarette smoking: even with all this information available to you, if you decide to keep smoking, and can't give up that last cigarette of the day, please make sure you do not smoke it in bed, or fall asleep with your cigarette lit in your hand. Every year many, many people are injured, and others die in fires caused by someone who fell asleep with a lit cigarette. Be responsible, and you may save lives. Can t Sleep After Drinking Alcohol

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This article was published on 2010/10/09