A Glass of Wine At Night May Be Keeping You Awake

Has someone ever recommended that you have a drink to help you relax and sleep better? It sounds like a good idea right? Wrong! Drinking alcohol actually reduces the quality of your sleep. A study released in the May 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research suggests that alcohol may actually cause more wakefulness during the night, resulting in less restful sleep. We as women seem to be more negatively affected by alcohol than men. We have decreased overall sleep because we wake up several times through the night. So ladies, it is not a good idea to have a glass of wine or a drink before bed. While it might cause you to fall asleep more quickly or feel that you have a deeper sleep during the first part of the night, overall your sleep will be worse. You will feel less rested when you wake up in the morning. What are some better options to help you relax and get a good nights’ sleep? Breathing techniques, meditation, taking baths, and employing mind-body skills are examples of successful techniques that have improved relaxation and sleep duration

While I am always concerned about quality sleep, there is another concern I have when I hear people using alcohol as a sleep aid. Drinking as a means of stress relief doesn’t support true or lasting relaxation of the mind or body. I don’t mean to imply that there is anything wrong with an occasional drink to unwind when you have a rough day, or enjoying a happy hour with friends.  My concern develops when you want to have a drink on a daily basis to handle overwhelm or your racing mind to get sleep.  Your inability to sleep because of your racing mind means that your life is too full of events, good or bad. You need to take a step back and see how you can redistribute the activities in your life so that you can become more balanced. It is often also helpful to introduce mind-body skills or relaxation techniques to support the shift into a better night sleep.

Sleep is extremely important to your mental, emotional, and physical health.  So choose behaviors that support proper sleep.  If you find that your inability to sleep is because of too many thoughts in your head understand this is a signal that there are too many things happening in your world at once. Take a step back and allow your sleeplessness to inform you about what is going on in your lives.  Once you identify what is keeping you up at night you can redirect your energies toward relaxation to create more balance for yourself.  This will change your life.

Live Vibrantly and Sleep well,

Dr. Dae

Dr. Dae's website:  www.healthydaes.com Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living can be purchased @ www.healthydaes.com

Sources:

"Alcohol at Bedtime May Not Help Your Sleep." WebMD - Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20110215/alcohol-at-bedtime-may-not-help-your-sleep.

"Annual Sleep in America Poll Exploring Connections with Communications Technology Use and Sleep | National Sleep Foundation - Information on Sleep Health and Safety." National Sleep Foundation - Information on Sleep Health and Safety | Information on Sleep Health and Safety. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2011. http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use-.

"Insomnia - MayoClinic.com." Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2011. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/insomnia/DS00187.