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Debunking the Myth: The Impacts of Consuming Alcohol before Bed

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Ayanna Amadi
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Debunking the Myth: The Impacts of Consuming Alcohol before Bed

Debunking the Myth: The Impacts of Consuming Alcohol before Bed

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Whether it's a glass of wine to unwind from a hectic day or a few beers during a late-night gathering, alcohol often weaves its way into our evening routines. However, does drinking alcohol before bed impede our valuable recovery time during sleep? This article dives into the impacts of alcohol on sleep patterns and overall health, revealing much-needed insights and practical recommendations.

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The Science behind Alcohol and Sleep

Contrary to popular belief, while alcohol may initially help you doze off, it drastically impacts the quality of your sleep. Alcohol disrupts the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase, where most of our restorative sleep occurs. This disruption can lead to daytime drowsiness and concentration difficulties. Alcohol also exacerbates certain sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia.

Alcohol and Sleep: The Research

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A 2018 review in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews found that alcohol lengthens the time spent in the light stage of sleep, at the expense of the crucial deep and REM sleep stages. Another research from the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that alcohol triggers a protein known as the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), causing disruption to our circadian rhythms and leading to prolonged “sleep inertia.”

Alcohol’s Impact on Overall Health

Ingesting alcohol close to bedtime doesn't stop at ruining your night's rest; it can have severe repercussions for your overall health. High alcohol consumption has been linked to significant health problems such as liver disease, heart disorders, and neurological damage.

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Advice for Better Sleep

If you’re inclined to have a nightcap, try to consume it at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow your body time to metabolize the alcohol. Alternatively, consider alternate relaxation techniques like meditation or reading a book to help you wind down before sleep. Furthermore, limiting alcohol intake aligns with general health advice, which stipulates moderate consumption not exceeding two drinks per day for men and one for women.

Round-Up: The Verdict on Alcohol before Bed

Though alcohol might initially bring on a cloak of sleepiness, the quality of sleep taken under its influence is significantly poorer. With sleep being an elemental aspect of good health, it is pivotal to consider the negative implications of a routine involving drinking alcohol before bed. By becoming mindful of our alcohol intake and adopting healthier bedtime habits, we can bolster our sleep quality and, in turn, our overall well-being.

Alcohol Rapid Eye Movement Liver Disease Epidermal Growth Factor
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