Your Nightcap May Be Giving You Insomnia

Alcohol actually interferes with restful sleep.

As a home wine maker, I don’t like to be told that a couple of glasses will do any harm at any time.  And with all the exciting green developments in Israeli wine, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to taste some of the latest cool vintages during the quiet evening hours.

Yet I have to concede it’s true. If I allow myself that second glass before bed time, a restless night follows. And even if locally made booze like arak has some medicinal properties, it’ll still interfere with my rest.  So I was interested to read Dr. Russel Rosenberg’s article in the Huffington Post about alcohol and sleep. Dr. Rosenberg is a sleep specialist and chairman of the board at the National Sleep Foundation.

According to Dr. Rosenberg, alcohol lightens sleep and interferes with rapid eye movements, essential to deep,  refreshing sleep. The drinker may feel sleepy at first, but as the alcohol works through his system at night, he wakes up and tosses around. It takes an hour to metabolize one ounce of booze.

Countless comedies and cartoons depict a drunk sprawled asleep in his chair, jerking awake after a loud snore.  Well, the poor guy is suffering from sleep apnea exacerbated by alcohol. Sleep apnea is snoring following long intervals of holding the breath and is known to be bad for the heart. Apart from the sleep lost.

Sensible advice is to eat a good meal with your tipple; don’t knock back your drink on an empty stomach. Take a walk after dinner to bring on healthy tiredness and help yourself to metabolize what you ate and drank.

But does the thought of a healthy walk at night make you want to retire to a cave and hibernate? Then make a point of enjoying your alcohol several hours before the time you normally turn in.  That gives your system a chance to start working and, essentially, detoxing, before bed time.

As for me, I find that sipping chamomile tea with milk in it helps me overcome that resistance to good sleep.

A while after I’ve sipped my Cabernet Sauvignon, of course.

More fascinating reading for drinkers on Green Prophet:

:: Huffington Post

:: National Sleep Foundation

Photo of woman sleeping by perfecto insecto via Flickr.

Miriam also writes a food blog.



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One thought on “Your Nightcap May Be Giving You Insomnia”

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