Health: Alcohol and sleep are a bad combination

Many people now know that alcohol and sleep are not the ideal combination and yet quite a few people take the well-known ‘nightcap’ before going to bed. A drink to help you fall asleep. Except that this may indeed be the case, there is no further benefit to be gained from the combination of alcohol and sleep.

Why alcohol?

Well, that’s a question with very different answers. Besides the extremely negative story of the man or woman who is addicted to the drugging feeling that alcohol gives, there are many other reasons. An important thing here is to feel looser, to be able to relax and to dare to relax what the mind does not dare or cannot do on its own. In addition, another important reason is to enjoy the drink in question. Some people can become lyrical about a certain drink and there is no accounting for taste, so while one person goes crazy about a painting, another might go crazy about a beautiful old wine or aged cognac.
Finally, and there lies the link to this article, is the combination of the man or woman who does not sleep well or has difficulty falling asleep and therefore only drinks one or more drinks during the later evening hours.

Sleep pattern versus alcohol


It has now been scientifically proven that if you have some small interruptions during your deep sleep (which many people have, but they often don’t even know it), this is amplified by alcohol and so you get more interruptions and the interruptions can be more intense. As a result, your body does not fully recover.
Small interruptions in sleep don’t have to be disastrous, but don’t make it worse by drinking alcohol.

To walk

Alcohol won’t suddenly make you sleepwalk, but it will all become more intense. Many sleepwalkers have less pleasant dreams during these periods, sometimes even violent ones. This means that these processes also become more intense. For example, more than half of sleepwalkers become more violent. Violently directed towards yourself or even injuring someone else.
It goes without saying that alcohol is a no-go for the sleepwalker, but what can also help is to take an afternoon nap. Furthermore, stress is a trigger for sleepwalking, so if you can more or less avoid it, that is best.

Source: Bertvthul, Pixabay

Difficulty falling asleep
The well-known nightcap is often taken by people who have difficulty falling asleep. Apart from the fact that not getting to sleep can indeed be difficult, the nightcap will not really solve this problem. It has been shown that you do indeed fall asleep a little faster, but you wake up after a few hours. Furthermore, science has shown that if you drink a few glasses of alcohol, you get less REM sleep. This is the phase in which your body/mind will recover with all possible consequences.
Difficulty falling asleep is not pleasant, but there are some things you can pay attention to, such as:

  • Make sure you have a cool (not freezing!) well-ventilated sleeping area.
  • Good breathable (natural material) bedding.
  • Turn off the light in your home half an hour before you go to sleep. Simply turning off half the lights is sufficient.
  • Set the temperature in the home to the night setting (also good for your wallet).
  • For some people, a lukewarm drink such as milk is tasty, but this does not apply to everyone.
  • An hour or so before you go to sleep, take a walk in the cool evening air (wear a nice tie in winter). Exercise is always good, but not too vigorously and therefore no more running or something like that.
  • If it is still warm during the summer evenings, make sure there is a breeze in the bedroom before you go to sleep. Opening windows and doors together for an hour or so may help. If you like air conditioning or a fan, don’t make it too cool in the sleeping area and make sure that nothing is pointed directly at you.


Stress and unrest

It goes without saying that stress or restlessness is not beneficial if you already have difficulty sleeping. If you know that is the cause, address it. With help if desired. Do exercises to relax, possibly some yoga and, if necessary, a moment of meditation if you have difficulty identifying the cause. Turning deeply within yourself can help. If it is more serious, professional help may be a better option.


Sleeping is an ingenious part of life and essential for humans. During sleep, the body recovers, you process certain things and you can recharge for a new day. If you have (sleeping) problems, do not try to solve it with alcohol, but tackle it at the source. Which does not alter the fact that a glass of wine, cognac or whiskey can be very tasty. Enjoy it, but everything in moderation!

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