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Alcohol and Sleep

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Alcohol is a depressant, which slows your brain’s and central nervous system’s function. This sluggishness can make you feel sleepy or relaxed, but drinking too much alcohol is linked to a poorer quality of sleep. Alcohol abusers are more likely to suffer from insomnia. Alcohol consumption can worsen sleep apnea, according to studies.

This article will help you to understand how alcohol affects sleep and the different stages your body goes through in each sleep cycle.

How Alcohol Affects Sleep Alcohol in your stomach or small intestine is absorbed into the bloodstream. The liver enzymes will slowly metabolize alcohol. However, excess alcohol will remain in the bloodstream.


You will probably take longer to fall asleep if you consume a large amount of alcohol prior to going to sleep. You may also experience sleep disturbances and a decrease in the quality of sleep.

Alcohol and Sleep Cycles
Understanding the sleep stages your body goes through is essential. Every sleep cycle is 90-120 mins long, which means you will have 4 or 5 sleep cycles for every 8 hours of sleep. Each sleep cycle consists of four stages, three NREM stages and one REM stage.

During the three first stages of sleep, you will notice that your muscles are becoming more relaxed and that your heart rate, breathing, eye movements and brain activity slows down. The slowest body functions occur during the final NREM stage or slow-wave sleep, which is also called the third NREM stage.

During REM, you will notice that your breathing and heart rate increase. Most dreams happen during REM. This stage can also aid in the consolidation of memories.

If you drink alcohol before bed, it can disrupt the REM phase during the first two sleep cycle. REM lasts only 10 minutes. Alcohol can make you fall asleep faster than normal, resulting in more slow-wave sleep. The imbalance in sleep stages can lead to shorter sleep cycles, and an increased likelihood of sleep disturbances.

Limit alcohol consumption before going to bed. This will improve your sleep quality.

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