Is Alcohol a Reliable Sleep Aid?

alcoholIt is not uncommon to know someone who may have a drink or two before bed to relax and fall asleep. The relaxation that alcohol promotes seems a natural method to drift off peacefully into a deep slumber, but, that feeling may not really benefit sleep overall. In fact, drinking alcohol to fall asleep could actually cause you to lose sleep or the healthy benefits of your body’s natural sleep cycle.

Alcohol certainly helps us fall asleep. Our muscles relax and our minds stop spinning as much from the daily stress we experience. One drink before bed can put our blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at about .02%, the same level that would cause an ignition interlock device to disable a vehicle in many cases. A few more drinks after that and we could be right at the legal BAC limit for intoxication, and how often do we feel rested the next day after a night of drinking to excess? Drinking alcohol in order to get a good night’s sleep works against us – and we don’t have an ignition interlock device for our body, just a less beneficial night of sleep overall.

Drinking before bed isn’t the solution to sleep problems. A healthy relationship with alcohol does have some health benefits, and by being safe when you drink, you don’t have to worry about drunk driving accidents, an ignition interlock device or other consequences. Instead of trying to get more sleep by drinking alcohol before bedtime, maybe it is time to look at what else can be done in order to quiet the mind and get the body to relax, without a “nightcap.” At the end of the day, so to speak, your body and mind will be much healthier without the effects of alcohol, and you can sleep well knowing that you aren’t putting yourself at risk for further damage from drinking.

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