The Sleep Council - Alcohol & Sleep

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How to fall asleep without alcohol

Postby tretre013 on Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:54 am

I have a drink at night to help me switch off from work and fall asleep, although I do wake in the night. What is the best way to break this cycle?
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Re: How to fall asleep without alcohol

Postby amaradnas on Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:55 pm

I sometimes have a glass of alcohol before going to bed but wake up with a headache. Why is this?
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Re: How to fall asleep without alcohol

Postby lisaartis on Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:30 am

Hi tretre013, and thanks for your question.

Alcohol is a commonly used sleep aid with many believing that alcohol helps them to fall asleep and sleep better throughout the night.

Too much alcohol, especially late at night, can play havoc with sleep patterns – losing valuable sleep and disrupting vital brain functions without knowing boozing is the cause. Waking up deprived of the vital sleep your body needs will leave you feeling drained and, if experienced night after night, can seriously affect your health and wellbeing.

While one glass may not affect some people before bed, it sounds like it is impacting on your sleep.

To break the cycle, it's important if you find something else that helps you to switch off and relax. While alcohol may seem a quick fix, we can become reliant on it. There are lots of different things you could do to help you unwind - from going to a yoga/pilates class, meditation exercises, mindfulness, having a warm bath, listening to music that makes you feel happy, reading, listening to a podcast. Whatever you decide to do, stick at it for a good couple of weeks to help break the cycle of using alcohol as a sleep aid.

Avoid replacing alcohol with other chemicals like sleeping tablets in order to fall asleep at night. Most chemically active substances and medications with hypnotic actions can lead to dependence if used habitually and also generate various undesirable side effects, some of which can have potentially harmful consequences.

Hope that helps
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Re: How to fall asleep without alcohol

Postby lisaartis on Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:32 am

amaradnas wrote:I sometimes have a glass of alcohol before going to bed but wake up with a headache. Why is this?


Hi amaradnas, thanks for your question too.
The reason you wake with a headache is because alcohol causes dehydration. It encourages too much water to be flushed out of your body which will dehydrate you, putting your body under strain and contributing to a headache that can stop you sleeping.
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Re: How to fall asleep without alcohol

Postby amaradnas on Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:48 pm

Thank you for your reply. I think it will be a cup of warm milk from now on!
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