If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, a glass of wine or brandy might seem like just the thing to help bring on the zzzz’s.
But while alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, it will actually make it harder for you to stay asleep. Unfortunately even modest amounts have been shown to increase tossing and turning and waking during the night, as well as feeling less rested in the morning and throughout the day.
Even worse, over time that sedative effect of alcohol that sometimes makes it easier to fall asleep gets weaker over time as your body builds up a tolerance to it, but the unwanted effects of restless, non-restorative sleep don’t lessen at all. So any benefit you think you’re getting from that nightcap fades away while all the drawbacks remain. For some people, this leads to drinking more in order to get that sedative effect, but more alcohol just leads to more sleep disruption, and a vicious cycle ensues.
I’m by no means a teetotaler and I wish a glass of wine were the answer to a good night’s rest (for one thing, my job would be much simpler), but it’s one of those short-term solutions that will only make your problem worse.
So if getting a good night’s rest is a challenge these days, try making your nightcap a cup of warm milk or caffeine-free herbal tea instead.
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