The Christmas and New Year season is all about celebrating with friends and family and in most cases these celebrations will involve alcoholic beverages. They are a significant part of Australian lifestyle and culture, and are widely enjoyed by the adult population. However, among other things, alcohol can have a negative impact on the quality of our sleep, so it is important to try leave our Christmas and New Year’s drinking habits behind with last year’s celebrations!
Many believe they fall asleep faster following a glass of wine or spirits, and this may be true. However, a drink before bedtime can prevent you from falling into a deep sleep which is essential for sufficient rest and recovery. It can mean you are more likely to wake up multiple times throughout the night, resulting in a restless sleep and disrupted circadian rhythm.
According to Dr Rajkumar Dasgupta, spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “alcohol messes with your sleep cycles, causing you to spend less time in the important deep sleep stages.” Because the body treats alcohol as a toxin, after a short time (usually around two hours) your body will start trying to flush it out resulting in more bathroom trips.
Additionally, Dasgupta says that alcohol suppresses the anti-diuretic hormone in your body, which can contribute to even more bathroom trips. When you’re going to the bathroom regularly, you’re also losing essential electrolytes. All of these factors can add up to a night of light, frequently interrupted sleep, exhaustion and dehydration.
If you are still making the most of the end of year celebration season, or if you have more upcoming occasions to consider, there are various steps you can take to try to reduce the effect alcohol has on the quality of your sleep and regularity of your circadian rhythm:
- Avoid bubbles – this could include champagne or sugary mixers
- Drink two glasses of water for each alcoholic beverage, and make sure you’ve eaten substantially
- Allow 3-4 hours between your last drink and bedtime
With a new year comes fresh promise, excitement and a sense of adventure. Many people see this time of year as an opportunity to reset by joining a gym and eating healthier, but let’s not forget the vitality of sleep to our health and wellbeing! To start your 2018 on a healthy note, remember to nurture your sleeping self with 7-9 hours of sleep per night and minimised alcohol intake, particularly before bedtime. Your body will thank you for it!
Sleepy’s. Be your Amazing.