What happens when you drink alcohol before going to bed?
Let’s look precisely at how alcohol consumption affects our dreams. Join us on the journey during the dreams after a night of drinks.
Did you wake up exhausted? It’s quite possible that last night’s departure was the culprit. According to British scholars, drinking alcohol before going to sleep affects the quality of sleep. In fact, more than one hundred and fifty studies on the relationship between alcohol and sleep have released conclusive data: after a night of alcohol excesses (4 beers or more), your sleep cycle is interrupted, you spend more time awake during the night, you dream less and your heart rate rises.
When you don’t drink alcohol, the sleep cycle alternates between instants of deep sleep, and what is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) dreams, whose main function is to “defragment” the brain – practically as if it were a hard disk – preparing it for the day ahead. When you drink, on the other hand, you can’t get such precise REM sleep for rest, which translates into tiredness and a feeling of dazedness in the morning.
But that’s not all. Alcohol also depresses the nervous system, so although it is possible to fall asleep faster and sleep deeply throughout the first part of the night, the body accelerates throughout the second half. This is so because the sympathetic restless system – the one that keeps us alarmed throughout the day – is still active, so that as soon as the effects of alcohol that induce sleep disappear and your sympathetic restless system still active takes charge of waking you up.
- 1 Want to know more? Journey through dreams after a night of drinks
- 2 1.am.: After a long night of drunkenness, fatigue in bed
- 3 2 a.m.: You still have your shoes on.
- 4 3 a.m.: You sleep like a baby.
- 5 5 a.m.: Continue under the sheets
- 6 6 a.m.: Yes, you sleep, but you’re not resting.
- 7 8 a.m.: Finally… You’re awake!
Want to know more? Journey through dreams after a night of drinks
1.am.: After a long night of drunkenness, fatigue in bed
What’s going on? What’s going on? According to neuropsychiatrist Irshaad Ebrahim, a specialist in sleep disorders and leader of research at the Sleep Centre in the city of London, drinking depresses your brain, causing you to fall four to one minutes earlier than normal and enter deep sleep about eight minutes earlier as well. The drawback of all this is that your heart rate rises to nine minutes per beat, which means that certain parts of your restless system continue to be more active than they should be.
2 a.m.: You still have your shoes on.
What’s going on? What’s going on? The alcohol sustains you sedated, so your sleep continues uninterrupted, affirms Ebrahim. But the reality is that you don’t dream, and your heart rate has now risen to one beat per minute. That involves too much activity
3 a.m.: You sleep like a baby.
What’s going on? What’s going on? According to Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia, clinical chief of orthopedic surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, alcohol delays the onset of REM sleep, testing up to nine percent less than necessary REM sleep for convenient rest. The result is simple: a feeling of stupefaction in the morning.
5 a.m.: Continue under the sheets
What’s going on? What’s going on? According to Dr. Seiji Nishino, master of psychiatry at Stanford University, as alcohol metabolizes, your restless sympathetic system remains active from the drink. As a result, you wake up one percent more often than you should during the second half of the night.
6 a.m.: Yes, you sleep, but you’re not resting.
What’s going on? What’s going on? By now, your body has metabolized most of the alcohol and you’re feeling a little startled without the sedative effects of the drink, Ahluwalia says. You toss and turn and wake up to four.39 percent more than normal during the second half of the night. Your heart rate’s rising now, at one beats per minute.
8 a.m.: Finally… You’re awake!
What’s going on: Alcohol is completely metabolized and you feel like continuing to sleep, but your restless, sympathetic system fights for you to get up. Then the last thing you’d wish for happens: you get up early. And as a result of a night without enough REM dreams, you feel confused and exhausted. Guess who’s got a long day today..;
If you want advice on how to rest better, discover six things to avoid before going to bed