Can’t Sleep Without Alcohol? Breaking The Cycle
During our lifetime, most of us will experience at some point or another difficulty getting to sleep whether because we are ill, over-tired, or worried about something and can’t switch off. These sleep disturbances are generally short-lived and of no major concern.
Still, if you constantly struggle to get to sleep, you may have a condition known as insomnia, often a chronic disorder if left untreated that can damage health.
Health providers may prescribe medication to help assist with insomnia and contribute to restoring a natural sleep cycle and pattern to help you sleep better. However, many people don’t feel the need for medication or fully understand their symptoms so they are more than ready to self-treat themselves in the form of over-exercising or using excessive mental strain to help them get to sleep.
These techniques may work for some but not for others and a much easier option for many and a more definite way to induce sleep is commonly shared through the means of drinking alcohol.
Alcohol is a powerful and controversial substance that has an effecting impact on the body physically and psychologically, causing hidden irregularities that most people are unaware of. If you can’t sleep without alcohol, maybe you should read on and find out the reason why you need a drink before bed and how to break the cycle that alcohol affects sleep.
Can Alcohol Help With Falling Asleep?
Society today has a lot of pressures and with it comes a lot of ailments, insomnia being one of them, and more and more people are taking to drinking alcohol as a means to help them drift off to sleep. But how can alcohol help you sleep?
The simplest explanation is that alcohol acts as a sedative and calmative and slows down the central nervous system, making one feel more relaxed and drowsy. This relaxing option would seem to be the perfect solution to successfully wind down at the end of a long day; let’s face it, how often have you witnessed someone falling asleep after a drinking session or not being able to get off the couch as they have fallen into a deep sleep?
Even small amounts of alcohol have enough strength to make someone nod off, especially if not used to drinking it, and it appears that most people today are turning to alcohol as a bedtime ritual to help resolve their sleep problems.
Alcohol is a very addictive substance and, if consumed regularly, becomes habitual and difficult to quit. Therefore, drinking alcohol to get to sleep can lead to a slippery slope for many people with sleep disorders and can lead to further problems.
Before examining sleep problems associated with alcohol, it would seem more appropriate to define firstly, a normal night’s sleep without any intake of this substance that disrupts sleep hygiene.
A Healthy Bedtime Sleep Cycle
Without alcohol, a normal sleep pattern indicates a restful and restorative process which is a major requirement for the body and mind when individuals pass through the different stages of sleep to recharge themselves and prepare for the day ahead.
The first stage involves the calm transition of drifting into a light sleep, where one’s thoughts may fade or grow faint then followed by deeper stages that enhance physical and mental rejuvenation.
Many adults experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep about 90 minutes after having fallen asleep that can repeat several times throughout the night, with longer durations occurring as the morning nears. REM activity is recognised to form an important role in the well-being of emotional and mental health as well as promoting an overall state of physical health.
During these normal sleep stages, the body manages to control and regulate temperature and heart rate meaning a more comfortable and uninterrupted rest. Upon waking, the body and mind feel recharged, refreshed, and relaxed, with all the components needed to endure the challenges and stress that may be faced the following day.
The body is a magnificent machine with a mental ability that can withstand a significant amount of pressure but needs to be recharged to full capacity to function correctly. Sleep is a necessity but getting quality sleep is fundamental and can make a huge difference in how we operate and how we manage our emotions.
Overall, by enjoying good sleep hygiene practices, the ability to fall asleep should not be an issue, and without experiencing sleep disruptions.
Sleeping Better After Drinking Alcohol
A good night’s sleep is fundamental but hard to achieve, so, is it fair to say that alcohol can help you fall asleep and make you feel relaxed? Well, yes, but it is not recommendable as this shady substance has a bitter twist to mess with your health and what it does to you. Like the wolf in sheep’s clothing, alcohol has the same meaning.
Why can’t you sleep without alcohol? Here’s the twist.
Say you have had a stressful day, you get home, finish off your daily chores, then try to wind down, perhaps with a few glasses of wine to help you relax. Before you know it, it’s bedtime or beyond, it’s getting late yet you’re still not feeling tired so another glass or two will surely make you more relaxed and drowsy.
Eventually, the substance unveils its effects, helping you unwind and become tired. Initially, alcohol will entice you into believing it is good for you, but as soon as you succumb to its power, it will take hold and become a habit, the reason for why you want to drink before bed.
When you drink alcohol to help you sleep better, the substance disrupts the natural sleep cycle. You are more likely to wake during the night, feel dehydrated, or in need of the bathroom.
Other negative consequences of drinking alcohol to address sleep issues include fatigue, lack of concentration, and a poor immune system, among others, never mind the next morning effects such as the typical hangover array of headache, feeling sick, dry mouth, or sore eyes.
Should your alcohol consumption be quite heavy in the evening, you are also putting at risk your work or other responsibilities such as driving or operating machinery or having a supervisory position until the effects of the substance wear off, which can take some considerable time and well into the following day.
Alcohol use has its risks and should not be considered a form of correcting insomnia or other related sleep disorders.
In addition, one should remember that regular use of alcohol as a sleep aid is a prominent way leading to long-term health problems. Some related conditions are liver disease or a heightened risk of developing certain cancers, never mind mental health disorders, or chronic alcohol addiction, perhaps one of the worst substance disorders, many cases of which have been fatal.
So, if you find yourself unable to sleep without alcohol, you need to identify the underlying issues and seek out healthier alternatives for a good night’s rest or if you are struggling with an alcohol-related problem seek professional help.
Break The Cycle And Sleep Without Alcohol
Sleep quality can be significantly altered by consuming alcohol before bed, so alternatives to alcohol for sleeping well need to be sourced and adopted and, more importantly, effective.
Every person is different, and there is no specific rule for all, as many factors depend on how someone uses alcohol and its purpose. As a general guide, for those with mild cases of alcohol consumption and insomnia, breaking the cycle should revolve around seeking alternative options and eliminating old habits.
Improving your quality of sleep may benefit from having a warm drink before bed, reading a book or other kind of gentle mind stimulation, light physical exercise or just relaxing in a hot bath, listening to music, or watching a film. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it distracts you from drinking alcohol.
You may want to try doing things differently or in another order to make the end of your day more relaxing and avoid doing extra tasks or chores that can wait. Anything to help you relax is beneficial and you will find that you won’t need alcohol to do it for you.
You must avoid stressful situations at all costs, leave emails and phone calls until the next morning, don’t worry about what’s going to happen this time next week or get frustrated about what you read in the news.
If you find anything that makes you feel tense or concerned, try to concentrate on pleasant things, especially before going to bed, and leave the problems, worries, and concerns for the following day. Your body and mind will thank you enormously for letting go of the additional stress and you may find that your sleep improves.
If none of these techniques work for you, it would be advisable to talk to your healthcare provider, who may suggest a prescribed medication to aid with sleeping, rather than resort to taking alcohol.
Improve Your Quality Of Sleep
Using alcohol to get to sleep is not a good idea as alcohol can cause several health issues and can affect the natural pattern of falling asleep and waking. Although the substance may seem to help with relaxation, this is a false sensation as its main function is a central nervous system depressant that blocks REM sleep and disrupts the stages of the sleeping process.
In addition, some people have sleep apnea, a condition where breathing may stop momentarily during sleep and severe cases need medical intervention due to the dangers it presents, although many individuals are unaware they have this condition, and if they consume alcohol, this can lead to very serious consequences.
If you are concerned about sleep apnea, talk to your doctor who can diagnose the disorder through a series of tests and will be able to advise you on how to treat the condition.
You can also improve your quality of sleep by getting into a different routine and allowing your body to adapt to these changes gradually until it becomes a habitual way of ending the day.
You should always endeavour to avoid any kind of strenuous physical or psychological stimulation before going to bed and instead seek calm and relaxing activities. Some people find a warm drink helps them relax but too much liquid is not recommendable as this can prompt you to use the bathroom during the night, therefore interrupting the sleep pattern.
Avoiding a heavy meal before bed is also good practice, as well as making sure you are comfortable and warm enough in quiet surroundings. Any interruption should be avoided wherever possible, and after a good night’s sleep, your body and mind will wake feeling more regenerated and more energetic.
Relying on alcohol to make you sleep has no benefit whatsoever, although it may seem easier to fall asleep using this method, in the long-term alcohol makes experiencing insomnia a regular disorder, impacting sleep patterns and will eventually cause problems in your life.
Insomnia Associated With Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction is a very serious and life-threatening disorder and should not be left untreated. There are many health complications associated with heavy alcohol consumption and insomnia is one of them when the effects of alcohol cause trouble falling asleep and disrupts the balance of the overall sleep mechanism.
Insomnia is one of the side effects associated with alcohol use and when the effects of the substance begin to wear off, it causes slow and disrupted sleep patterns that may increase the times you wake up during the night damaging any form of quality and healthy sleep.
Prolonged use of alcohol can alter chemicals in the brain that regulate sleep and the production of neurotransmitters all leading to chronic insomnia. Changing your lifestyle and daily habits can enormously help with alcohol-related insomnia and will most certainly improve the quality of sleep.
Insomnia and sleep disorders can be treated, but when a person reduces or stops their alcohol consumption, there are several other withdrawal symptoms, many of which can be very severe and unpleasant, making it crucial to get professional medical assistance to address the condition.
If you have an alcohol-related concern or trouble sleeping and are resorting to drinking alcohol to sleep even if you don’t think you have a problem, it would be advisable to seek help before the risk of developing an alcohol tendency.
Stopping alcohol use alone or going cold turkey can present challenges and other health risks as well as more chance of relapsing and should be intervened with expert supervision.
Is Alcohol Affecting You Or Your Loved Ones?
At Sivana Bali, we know only too well the devastating effects that alcohol has on addicts and their families and understand the challenges and obstacles in attempting to reach a life of sobriety. We address drug and alcohol addictions and provide personalised alcohol addiction treatment for anyone seeking help to overcome their problems.
We use a medically managed detox programme to assist patients with the unpleasant and painful withdrawal symptoms making these negative feelings less intense and more manageable.
Our luxury facility located on the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia, offers a first-class service to patients who attend our residential treatments with the best course of action to set you on the road to recovery.
If you decide Sivana Bali can help you defeat your struggle with alcohol addiction, we are only one step away by giving us a call or sending us a message. Our friendly staff is on hand to listen, offer support, and provide you with all the information you need on how to proceed.