Is Dry January good for your sleep?
If you’re taking part in Dry January, you’ll soon notice that cutting down on your alcohol intake will have a knock on effect on your quality of sleep.
Dr Nerina, Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, has looked into the effects of alcohol on sleep, stating that, “For centuries, humans have relied on alcohol as a relaxant to ease our passage into sleep. I enjoy a glass of wine as much the next person but from a psychological perspective any alcohol will affect your sleep.”
Drinking close to bedtime interferes with a number of normal sleep processes. The Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep stage is missed, as alcohol makes you go straight into a deep sleep. As the alcohol wears off you will return to REM sleep making it much easier to wake up, this means you can often wake up after only a few hours sleep, making you feel exhausted.
Dr Nerina, says: “it is common that many people use alcohol to help them try to fall to sleep at night, resulting in a restless night’s sleep.
“By cleaning up your lifestyle and reducing your alcohol intake, your sleep will start to become purer and more restorative. I would also recommend starting to get into a sleep routine, aiming to be in bed by 9pm whilst also minimising the amount of time spent on technology, as this will help your body unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep.”
Apart from low quality of sleep there are other issues that alcohol can have on your overall sleeping pattern. If you drink a lot, you may have to get up in the night to go to the toilet. Did you know it’s not just the liquid you’ve drunk that you’ll be getting rid of? Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it encourages the body to lose extra fluid through sweat too, making you dehydrated.
Dr Nerina, says: “constantly getting up and going to the toilet will result in a broken night’s sleep and not a restful one. By cutting out alcohol and replacing boozy nights with relaxing ones, you will begin to see an improvement in your sleep and overall mood.
“However, if temptation gets the better of you and you can’t resist that alcoholic beverage, moderation is key. Limit yourself to 2-3 drinks making sure you stay hydrated in between each drink to avoid the constant journey to the toilet during the night.”