Break the Cycle of Drinking Yourself to Sleep
For those locked in the cycle of addiction, the urge to rely on alcohol can come at any time of day. This can include the end of the day, when some people use alcohol as a sleep aid. The relationship between alcohol and sleep is a delicate one, and for those who aren’t careful, the abuse of this relationship can lead to unhealthy habits and unhealthy, fitful sleep. Here’s what drinking alcohol before bed can do to the body, along with a few tips on how to get better sleep without drinking.
The Real Effects of Alcohol Before Bed
While you may perceive that alcohol is assisting you in falling asleep, the facts show that alcohol-induced sleep is far from healthy. Drinking alcohol before bed results in fitful and disturbed sleeping, as well as reduced time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Even slight amounts of pre-sleep alcohol can disturb the rhythm of your body’s natural biological clock.
Furthermore, drinking alcohol before bed boosts the risk of parasomniac behaviors like sleepwalking or sleeping-eating. It can also trigger sleep-disordered respiration (i.e. snoring), and can increase the likelihood of getting up late at night to use the restroom. In short, even if you feel dependent on alcohol for sleep, all it’s really doing is robbing you of healthy, long-term rest.
How to Get Healthy Sleep Without Alcohol
In essence, you’ll need to replace the poor habits of alcohol abuse with new, healthier habits in order to get better sleep. These are a few things to keep in mind:
- Find a Routine and Stick to It: Establish regular intervals of sleep every night to train your mind and body. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Also, avoid stimulants like caffeine late at night, and try to avoid taking daytime naps.
- Find a Way to Relax: Find something – anything – that puts you at ease. Whether it’s yoga, stretching, reading, cooking a meal, or something else, calming activities are prime for letting your brain produce serotonin, which helps strengthen willpower and keep you away from instant-gratification vices like alcohol.
- Wear Yourself Out (in a Good Way): Many recovering substance abusers agree – Keeping busy is key. You should aim to fill you day with enough activity to fill your day and essentially use all your energy, physically and mentally, to the point where your night is reserved for nothing but sleep.
- Don’t Substitute One Substance for Another: When eliminating alcohol from your nighttime routine, it may be tempting to swap it out for another sleep aid. Do not take any drugs that haven’t been prescribed to you for the explicit purpose of helping you sleep. The last thing you want to do is exchange one addiction for another.
You CAN Break the Habit
At Warriors Heart, we specialize in assisting veterans, first responders, and active duty military personnel with mental health and recovery issues. If you’ve reached a point where you view drinking alcohol before bed to be a necessity, please reach out to us today. Our trained addiction specialists can help you return to normal. The journey to healing and stability starts with one call, so get started today.