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Alcohol helps fall asleep faster but causes more disrupted sleep, study shows

All alcohol doses cause a more consolidated first half of sleep and sleep disruption in the second half; it also takes less time to fall asleep.

Increasing the dose of alcohol better impacts increasing deep sleep. This might be the reason some people drink alcohol to avoid sleep problems, using alcohol as a sedative. However, consolidating sleep in the first half of the night can cause more disrupted sleep in the second half.

There is one more problem. Drinking for “better sleep” can also cause alcohol problems. The more you drink, the more likely you may become addictive. If you start noticing the habit of drinking before going to bed, call AddictionResource addiction helpline number. Sleep problems also need to be solved with a doctor.

Natural cycles of brain activity support sleep, which consists of two primary states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Normally, your sleep begins with NREM sleep and a very short period of REM sleep, creating 90-minute cycles that replace each other during the night. A review of the impact of drinking on sleep shows that alcohol reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, increases NREM sleep, and reduces REM sleep.

Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director at The London Sleep Centre and corresponding author for the study, says the review has combined all the available materials on the immediate effects of drinking alcohol on sleep. Our understanding of sleep has sped up in the past 30 years; that is why some of the primary interpretations have to be revisited.

Alcohol also increases slow-wave sleep (SWS), during which the body builds muscle and bone, repairs, strengthens the immune system, and regenerates tissues. It can increase the possibility of sleep problems such as sleep apnoea or sleepwalking.

High doses of alcohol decrease REM sleep during which generally dreams occur and the brain is more active. Lack of this kind of sleep has a detrimental effect on motor skills, memory, and concentration.

What can help fall asleep better than alcohol

First of all, you should check the bedroom in which you sleep. It should maintain the optimum temperature – not too hot and not too cold.  Air your bedroom regularly and avoid drafts. You are also unlikely to fall asleep quickly if there is little oxygen in the room. You can use oils of lavender, linden, and chamomile to flavor the bedroom.

Very bright light often leads to insomnia. The hormones that regulate falling asleep are only produced in the dark. Make sure the windows are tightly curtained and there are no other light sources in the room. You can purchase a special mask for sleeping.

If you need silence for sleep, buy earplugs at the pharmacy. Unobtrusive noise, such as the monotonous hum of a fan, helps some people fall asleep. You can also use relaxing music or nature sounds.

Do not read or watch TV before going to bed. If a book or a show is interesting and prompts you to think, the brain will not be able to calm down for a long time, preventing you from falling asleep. If you have chronic insomnia, watching TV and reading before going to bed are generally contraindicated.

Do not count lambs or elephants, or something else, trying to fall asleep. The count provokes the activity of some areas of the brain, so it will be even more difficult to fall asleep. Think of something nice instead. Imagine yourself flying in the clouds or floating in a boat on a river swimming in the ocean, walking on a flowering field. Slowly delve into your fantasies, noticing more and more details.

Do not overeat – the last meal should be 2-3 hours before bedtime. There are foods that promote good sleep: bananas, milk, nuts, whole grain bread, lettuce. However, protein can interfere with good sleep, the same as caffeinated drinks, spicy, fatty, sweet meals. Often a cup of warm milk or herbal tea helps fall asleep.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep, do not force yourself – get up and do something else, and when you feel sleepy, go to bed again.

Lie calmly, do not move, mentally relax all the muscles, starting from the tips of the toes, and ending with the head. Lying in bed, stretch. Stretching helps the body relax, the tension goes away, and the person falls asleep. Try holding a pillow between your knees. This helps relieve stress and even reduces pain.

Perform a set of breathing exercises. Slow deep breathing helps the body relax. Lie on your back to control how your stomach rises. By focusing on breathing, the brain is freed from extraneous thoughts.

If you have noticed you drink too much

If you see that almost every night ends with a bottle of beer of a glass of wine, think of the possibility of getting help (doctors, addiction hotline, rehab programs). Although it doesn’t necessarily mean you are becoming an alcoholic, it’s better to pay attention.

The simplest way to understand whether you have problems or not is calling drug abuse hotline number. There are specialists who are able to identify addictions even by phone.

Addiction helpline is often anonymous if you are afraid that somebody can find out. You don’t have to mention your name or any personal information to have a productive conversation and solve the problems which disturb you.

You can also find addiction anonymous 24-hour hotline so that every evening you have something else to do except drinking. Moreover, small talks before sleep can also help get a little tired and fall asleep quicker.

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