The Desire for a Good Night’s Sleep
It’s not uncommon to hear that many people may have an alcoholic drink before bed to help them fall asleep. While many believe that it helps to relax them, is this true? Unfortunately, drinking alcohol before bed is actually doing more harm than good. While alcohol may help you fall asleep faster due to its sedative properties, it’s not allowing your body the proper rest it needs and may induce sleep apnea symptoms.
How Alcohol Makes Sleep Apnea Worse
Not only does alcohol increase your risk of sleep apnea, but it also inhibits your body’s ability to breathe while sleeping. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat, which can cause your upper airway to collapse. This can create the vibration of soft tissues, also known as snoring, or complete airway obstruction that occurs in sleep apnea. Studies have shown that moderate or heavy drinking can cause sleep apnea episodes in individuals who don’t have the condition.
For those who are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the consequences of the condition can become more pronounced when drinking alcohol. Alcohol use can increase the time between when you stop breathing and “wake up” to breathe again, making your OSA worse.
Are There Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on Sleep?
If alcohol is a constant in your life, especially before sleep, there can be long-term effects. There are several sleep cycles our bodies go through, and after about an hour and a half of sleep, our body falls into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. However, alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of this stage or even skip the REM cycle entirely. The REM cycle is where we dream and is considered the stage where we get the most restorative sleep.
Constant alcohol consumption leads to missing several REM cycles, which can quickly leave your mind sleep-deprived. REM sleep cycles restore the brain while deep sleep cycles restore your body. Alcohol can put you directly into a deep sleep, giving off the sensation of having had a restful night, but you can wake up mentally drained.
Do I Need to Avoid Alcohol?
If you suffer from sleep apnea, it’s best to avoid the use of alcohol at least a few hours before bedtime. This will help minimize the effects overnight. Make sure to always use your sleep apnea treatment if you have one. If not, get in touch with our sleep dentist, Dr. Lauck. She’ll work with you to ensure you get the best treatment for your sleep apnea condition.
Visit Dr. Lauck at North Texas Sleep Solutions
If you feel you may be suffering from sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lauck. As a certified sleep dentist, she provides effective sleep apnea treatments to ensure patients can receive a better night’s sleep and find relief from their symptoms. Call our Keller, TX office today at (817) 431-6764. You can also request more information by filling out our online contact form, and we’ll get back to you shortly.