Consuming alcohol, particularly right before bed, can have a direct impact on the quality of your sleep. Drinking alcohol increases your chances of snoring loudly, which can prevent REM sleep. If you have sleep apnea, this increase in snoring may be more concerning and cut into your total sleep time.
To prevent poorer quality sleep from happening on a regular basis, it is important to cut back on the consumption of alcohol, especially close to bedtime. Cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink is usually enough. Ultimately, no matter how you go about it, cutting down on your alcohol intake will lead to better rest quality and can even improve long-term health outcomes if done consistently.
Snoring can be a very frustrating situation, both for those enduring it and those creating the disruption. If you're the one mixing up everyone's sleep with your loud snores, not only are you likely dealing with tiredness during the day, but you are also compromising your own restorative sleep. There is an easy way to cut back on snoring - cut back on drinking alcohol.
Alcohol consumption has a negative effect on our bodies even when we're not about to doze off in bed, but for anyone looking to cut down their snoring habit, reducing alcohol consumption will definitely have a positive impact. It's often difficult at first to know how to cut back your intake of alcohol, but there are plenty of resources out there that can help guide you toward responsible drinking habits.
Resting the ears
Although most people cut back on drinking when they learn that alcohol is a depressant and can make them feel tired or sleepy after having too much, few people realize the implications it may have on snoring. Studies have shown that heavy drinking and even some moderate drinking contribute to more frequent or louder snoring or even apnea, making it essential to cut back on alcohol consumption if loud snoring is an issue.
Alcohol can make you sleepy faster and make snoring more likely, and drinking too much can worsen the effects of snoring. When people drink alcohol, the muscles in their throats tighten, which can force air through the smaller opening with greater intensity, thus making the sound of snoring louder. Consuming too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing sleep apnea.
If you are concerned about your snoring or worry you have sleep apnea, it would be a good idea to cut back on drinking and also cut out other activities like smoking that can increase your risk of developing such ailments. It is important to note that this does not mean you must cut out all consumption of alcohol - instead focus on drinking less for better health outcomes.
A 2020 study noted that drinking alcohol close to bedtime can increase the risk of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This could be due to how alcohol affects your throat’s epiglottis, which is a flap of cartilage that acts as a gateway between your throat and mouth. It typically remains open to allow air to flow freely into your lungs but when you swallow, it folds back to stop food and drinks from entering.
There are a few simple methods to cut back on your alcohol consumption before bed, like having some water between sips of alcohol or limiting yourself to one alcoholic beverage per night.
Everyone snores occasionally - but when you drink alcohol, your regular breathing could become more difficult than usual. That is because the relaxation effects of drinking cause your throat muscles to contract and your nasal passages to swell, making it harder for air to flow freely. This leads the body to make up for this restriction by forcing deeper breaths which vibrate against your esophagus, resulting in snoring.
As a result of the 2020 sleep apnea study, researchers determined that drinking alcohol close to bedtime was linked to more severe sleep apnea symptoms. Those who cut back on the amount of alcohol consumed before bed were found to have fewer blocked airways and higher oxygen levels during their sleep. It’s recommended for anyone suffering from snoring or sleep apnea to cut back on drinking as an effective way to reduce these symptoms.
There are many different strategies you can use to cut back on your alcohol consumption, such as reducing the amount you drink each day, setting a specific time when you plan on cutting off your intake, and replacing alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic alternatives such as sparkling water or herbal tea.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, cutting back on drinking can actually improve your sleep quality. A recently published study highlighted the correlation between alcohol consumption and sleep, suggesting that exploring your relationship with alcohol – and considering how to cut back – can be of great benefit and play an important role in improving your sleep profile and determining treatment plans for those struggling with insomnia.
According to the Sleep Foundation, drinking even low amounts of alcohol (fewer than two drinks per day for men, less than one drink for women) can decrease sleep quality by 8.3 percent, while moderate (two drinks for men; one drink for women) and high (over two drinks for men; more than one drink for women) alcohol consumption further cut down on quality by 24 percent and 39.2 percent respectively. As such, reducing your alcohol intake could increase your overall restful nights.
Reaching your REM stage is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle; it is the deepest and most restorative sleep that provides our brains with much-needed improvements to concentration, mood, and memory. If you are having trouble getting enough REM sleep, cut back on drinking alcohol - it can inhibit your body’s natural ability to reach REM. Try different ways to cut back alcohol, such as limiting it to weekends only or cutting back the number of drinks you have gradually over time. When your REM sleep is optimized, your body can reap the full benefits of restorative sleep.
Stop drinking four hours before bed
Use a mouthguard or nasal strips
Sleep on your side
Alcohol can play a major role in affecting the quality of sleep, particularly if consumed right before bed. People who drink alcohol heavily or frequently may not get enough restorative REM sleep each night. This type of deep sleep is essential for feeling well-rested and having clarity when tackling tasks during the day. That's why it's important to cut back on drinking in order to improve your sleeping habits.
If you are someone who has difficulty making healthier decisions about when and how much alcohol to consume, the Reframe app is a great tool to help you cut back on drinking and work towards better sleep health! The app provides resources on how to cut back on alcohol with easy-to-follow tips like setting weekly personal goals that meet both mental and physical well-being needs.