Nearly all of us have been there at one time or another: something in life is causing undue stress and anxiety, and you find yourself unable to sleep. One possible solution to this insomnia is alcohol – have a nightcap that will relax your mind and body so that rest will come easily. Sometimes it actually seems to work – you drift off into a sleep of sorts, albeit a fitful one.
As well, you may find that you might wake a few times during the night, and in the morning you awaken without feeling refreshed or well-rested. The day is rocky, since your concentration is low and your irritability is high. You go home feeling the stress of another challenging day, and the cycle begins to repeat itself.
Alcohol and Insomnia do not Mix
While it might appear that drinking alcohol in the evening can help you relax and unwind after a busy day, that evening drink can in fact turn into a restless night for some; alcohol dehydrates us rather quickly, and that dehydration factor can keep us awake after about three hours of sleep.
Alcohol and insomnia are also interconnected in other ways, for example by keeping us out of the deeper sleep cycles, which usually results in more frequent waking. The dangerous side of drinking alcohol and insomnia is that if you suffer from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, alcohol can actually exacerbate the condition; alcohol and insomnia is simply not a good mix.
What Does Work?
Fortunately, there are other ways of treating insomnia than by using alcohol to make you sleepy. You can start by identifying the reasons that you are having trouble sleeping in the first place. If stress and anxiety are leading to restless nights, there are other ways to deal with your problems. You can keep a journal, talk to a friend, or go to a professional for help if the problem is severe. Daily exercise is also an excellent way to manage stress levels.
If your nighttime issue is environmental, it doesn’t even make sense to use alcohol and insomnia in this case either. Environmental changes, such as adjusting the temperature in the room you are sleeping in or monitoring the light and noise factors would be a much better solution. Alcohol and insomnia can also cause chronic pain in regards to this, and so a visit to your doctor to learn more effective ways of pain management would work much better.
Other solutions for insomnia that do not include alcohol are developing a regular bedtime and wake time, and a routine at night that will train your body to know when it is time to sleep. Insomnia can become detrimental to your quality of life, especially when it is frequent and long-term. Alcohol will not help insomnia sufferers, but there are many other good solutions that can.