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Will a Glass of Wine Help Your Sleep? What You Need To Know

by Reyna Thomas

If you're looking to wind down with a glass of wine before bed, you may want to rethink your strategy. While a small amount of alcohol can help you fall asleep, too much will have the opposite effect and disrupt your sleep.

As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol slows down brain function and has sedative effects that might make you feel at ease and sleepy. But, in reality, it can do more harm to your sleep than good.

In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of drinking wine before bed, the bad sides of wine to your sleep, and more!

Alcohol and Sleep

Wine has long been associated with relaxation and sleep. In fact, there is even some scientific evidence to support these claims. A study from the University of Milan found that drinking a glass of wine before bed can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. The study participants who drank wine before bed reported better quality of sleep than those who did not drink wine.

Person relaxing with glass of wine

However, excessive alcohol use has been associated with short and unrefreshing sleep cycles. Symptoms of sleeplessness are frequently experienced by people with alcohol use disorders. And according to studies, drinking alcohol can make sleep apnea symptoms worse.

Although moderate drinking is generally considered harmless, each person's response to alcohol varies. Thus, alcohol's effect on sleep varies greatly depending on the individual.

How Does Alcohol Affect Sleep?

So what is it about wine that makes it so good for sleep? One theory is that the natural compounds in wine, such as resveratrol, have relaxing properties. Resveratrol is a type of antioxidant found in grapes, concentrated in their “peel.” It has been shown to have many health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving heart health. Some research has even suggested that resveratrol could help to extend life span!

woman waking with headache

In addition to the possible sleep-promoting effects of resveratrol, wine also contains melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep-wake cycles. Our bodies produce less melatonin as we age, which may explain why older adults often have more difficulty sleeping. By drinking wine before bed, you may be able to increase your body's levels of melatonin and get a better night's sleep.

Does it Really Work?

Studies suggest that although wine induces sleep, the drowsiness level does not help you recover from fatigue. It is often said that alcohol is a sedative drug, and it is true. This substance overpowers the different brain regions, and, finally, the consumer ends up asleep.

However, it is not a normal state of sleep; some studies suggest that the electrical activity of the brain of a person who sleeps under the effects of alcohol is similar to a light form of anesthesia. The effects of alcohol on your entire night of sleep are far more significant than the temporary sedative impact. Your sleep patterns will change as your body breaks down the alcohol. Alcohol alters your sleep cycle in a similar way to sleeping drugs.

This process, which is also known as the rebound effect, specifically occurs in the second half of the evening. This rebound effect occurs in the second half of the night and causes you to wake up frequently at different intervals. When you wake up after a night of wine-induced sleep, you don't feel refreshed and may even feel like you didn't get any sleep. The issue is that you might not associate your next-day tiredness with your previous night's alcohol use. In actuality, drinking alcohol — be it wine, beer, or liquor — close to bedtime is considerably more likely to prevent sleep than to promote it.

How to deal with alcohol before bedtime?

If you are still interested in trying a glass before bed, there is a way to go about it. The Milan study mentioned above found that participants who drank one glass of wine before bed fell asleep faster and slept more soundly than those who drank two glasses. However, it's important to remember that everyone is different. But the general rule of thumb is fewer than two servings for men or one serving for women. And to reduce the chance of sleep disruptions, you should stop drinking alcohol at least four hours before bedtime.

woman lying on her sofa with glass of wine

Before you drink, make sure to eat some fatty and protein-rich food. A substantial meal reduces the rate at which alcohol enters your system and would be the optimal time to drink as by the time it digests you'll be getting ready for bed and feel sleepy. The same is true for water; drinking water helps prevent dehydration and slows alcohol absorption into the bloodstream. Follow the "two for one" rule and drink two glasses of water for each alcoholic beverage.

Also, keep in mind that alcohol's sedative effects can be quickly adapted to, leading you to need more to achieve the same sleep-inducing effects, which may do more harm than good. You are not required to fully refrain from drinking because of this. But if you turn to alcohol as a coping strategy for having trouble falling asleep, you’re better off seeking other alternatives to your sleep.

Sleep Alternatives

If you find that drinking wine before bed causes you to wake up frequently or prevents you from getting a good night's sleep, it's best to avoid it altogether. There are plenty of other options to explore to get a good sleep. You can try herbal teas, exercise, meditation, warm baths, cutting back on caffeine, and simply reevaluating your mattress! A comfortable, supportive mattress can make a world of difference when trying to sleep.

female customer trying new bed at furniture store

Snooze Away

There you have it! Now you know the pros and cons of drinking wine before bed and how to decide if it’s the right option for you. But if you find yourself in search of a good mattress to help your sleep instead, look no further! Westco Home Furnishings has a wide selection of mattress options for you to choose from to get your dream sleep! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to stop by or give us a call! We'll help you find the mattress you need to sleep easy.