By Emily Burke January 28, 2022

4 Ways Reducing Alcohol Will Improve Your Sleep

 We’ve all been there — laying in bed, staring at the ceiling and begging our body for just a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Sometimes, we try to count sheep or listen to a guided meditation. Other nights, we scroll through our phones or turn on Netflix.

Most of the time, however, we turn to something more efficient and potent, like a glass of red wine or a shot of whiskey.

And while a stiff drink can help knock us out quickly, it usually has us tossing and turning later in the night — meaning we wake up feeling like we hardly slept at all.

Despite our best efforts, using booze to snooze is usually a recipe for disaster. Even just one or two drinks can decrease the quality of our Z’s by almost 25%.

For those of us with busy lives, quality sleep just isn’t something we can sacrifice.

When you decide to forgo the alcohol and stick to something more pure? Well, the benefits are hard to ignore.

4 Ways Reducing Alcohol Intake Affects the Quality of Your Sleep

1. Longer periods of REM sleep.

REM sleep helps with memory consolidation and mood regulation, meaning we are literally better human beings when we get more of it. Our brains on booze are less likely to enter the REM cycle and reap those benefits.

2. Less frequent interruptions throughout the night.

Alcohol can have a negative effect on your circadian rhythms, which dictate both your sleeping and waking hours. The more frequently you wake up throughout the night, the harder it is for your body to get into a regular sleeping routine, which helps you stay asleep throughout the night.

3. Better hormone regulation and lower cortisol levels.

A great night of sleep gives our bodies the rest they need to recover from stress and exercise, which helps to lower cortisol levels—the stress hormone—and regulate our endocrine systems.

When our endocrine systems are imbalanced, we experience symptoms like night sweats and other uncomfortable side effects that keep us awake.

4. More energy and clarity in the mornings.

Not only does alcohol keep us from sleeping soundly, it also dehydrates our bodies, leaving us feeling groggy, weak, and generally crappy in the morning (hello, hangover.)

Next time you start reaching for the hard stuff to help you sleep, consider how you’d like to wake up feeling tomorrow.