This week on MedMinute: Alcohol and Sleep May Not Be a Healthy Mix
For many folks, a nightcap is part of their ritual before retiring for the evening. But an expert says consuming alcohol too close to bedtime may interfere with peaceful slumber and could lead to chronic sleep problems.
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Research shows that alcohol in moderation can provide health benefits. Many people use alcohol as an aid to help them get to sleep, but William Wohlgemuth, clinical psychologist and assistant clinical professor at Duke University Medical Center, says this can be a mistake.
“When the alcohol is metabolized in the body, you have to go to the bathroom more, which can wake you up. Also, sleep becomes a little bit more light after consuming alcohol. So if you have a drink to help you go to sleep at nighttime, it may help you go to sleep, but it’s going to mess up your sleep later in the night.”
Wohlgemuth warns against consuming alcohol too close to bedtime.
“One drink two hours before would probably be out of your system before you went to bed, but two shots of Scotch 30 minutes before you went to bed as a nightcap to help you go off to sleep would be too much and can interfere with the sleep process.”
This is National Sleep Awareness Week, a good time to learn about steps we can take to improve our sleep and our health.