Do You Know Nightcaps (Drinking Alcohol Before Bed) Give You the Worst Sleep!
Written and reviewed by
MD - Medicine, Diploma in Diabetology, MBBS
General Physician, Malda
9 years experience
"Nightcaps (Drinking alcohol before bed) give you the worst sleep ever!
Any alcoholic beverage (generally brandy, wine, beer, bourbon etc) consumed before bedtime is known as a nightcap. You may have a nightcap thinking you’ll get better sleep, but did you know that it’s actually responsible for giving you a disrupted sleep pattern? Nightcaps may gradually start interfering with your sleeping quality, causing you to wake up sooner than you want.
How do nightcaps adversely affect your sleeping pattern?
Recently, a study conducted by the University of Melbourne revealed the fact that alcohol before bedtime can give you the worst sleep ever. In this study, several volunteering adults were neurologically monitored in a lab for a few days. Half of them were asked to have nightcaps, while the other half was instructed to drink non-alcoholic beverages. After completing their observation, the researchers reached the conclusion that though alcohol resulted in greater number of sleeping hours, it left the participants feeling dehydrated and less refreshed in the morning due to fragmented sleep. This is because the sleep induced by nightcaps is very shallow, and having nightcaps regularly can result in less restorative sleep.
The side-effects of nightcaps
Ruining your sleep is not the only ill effect nightcaps have on your health. Nightcaps give rise to other issues too, like snoring and night sweats. Moreover, consuming alcohol before falling asleep also weakens your immune system, damages your memory, speeds up the ageing process, results in nightmares, and causes headaches and insomnia. In fact, regular nightcaps are bad for your heart too.
4 ways how you can prevent alcohol from affecting your sleep pattern
Nonetheless, if you want to include a bit of alcohol to your dinner, it can be done in the correct way to ensure that it doesn’t affect the quality of your sleep. You can follow these simple rules to minimise the ill effects of nightcaps:
1. Stick to the three hour rule: Ensure that you drink alcohol at least 3 hours prior to sleeping.
2. Limit yourself to a fixed amount: Always consume alcoholic beverages in moderation and try to limit yourself to only one or two drinks every day.
3. Sleep early: Try to avoid staying awake longer than you usually do as this adds up to alcohol’s abilities of disturbing your sleep.
4. Increase your water intake: Prevent your body from getting dehydrated by the effect of alcohol by consuming at least one glass of water for each glass of alcohol. Additionally, don’t forget to sip a few glasses of water after waking up in the morning.
Sleep is important for your overall well being, so try not to compromise with it by consuming nightcaps regularly, especially after knowing about its devastating effects.
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