Why All Your Holiday Drinking Is Seriously Messing With Your Sleep Cycle
‘Tis the season to be merry, right?
But the worst part is, the next day, you will wake up — without a doubt — with a splitting headache, light-sensitive eyes and a fuzzy tongue.
And on top of that, even though you passed out for a whole historical era, you are exhausted.
The reason for that is, apart from your crazy dance moves, alcohol messes with your sleep phases.
A regular sleep cycle consists of five sleep phases. A cycle last around 90 minutes, and a regular adult goes through four to six of those cycles during a good night.
Booze, however, can impede one of those phases, and that phase is REM sleep.
REM is when most of us dream, and it's a highly restorative part of our sleep cycle that is vital for our mental health.
We need every single sleep phase to help our body restore itself, and if any of those phases are interrupted, we will wake up feeling like we've been hit by Santa's Slay, including all his reindeers.
And according to WebMD,
Disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and rob you of needed ZZZs.
So even though we might have been in bed in a comatose state, we will not wake up as well-rested as if we had gone to bed sober and and slept the same amount of time.
On top of that, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee a lot and dehydrates you. Those are two reasons your body will get up at night, stumble to the bathroom and b blinded by harsh lights, which will also make it more difficult to fall back to sleep.
Another reason it's hard to sleep well after having some alcohol is that once your body has digested it, it takes you out of your deep sleep.
According to John Shneerson, head of Papworth Hospital's Resipiratory Support and Sleep Center,
As the alcohol starts to wear off, your body can come out of deep sleep and back into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake from. That's why you often wake up after just a few hours sleep when you've been drinking.
This could be why noises or shifts in light, which usually wouldn't bother us, can be enough to have us wide awake and make it tricky to fall asleep again.
So what can you do? Here are five tips to help you survive the next morning.
1. Watch what you eat. Carbs can help restore nutrients and also settle your stomach.
2. Make sure your room is pitch black. That way, you won't be woken up by the sun rising. You can also wear earplugs to avoid any noise ripping you out of sleep.
3. Drink one glass of water between every drink. You should also have some more before going to bed, and it's ideal to go to bed without feeling buzzed.
4. Have a banana. Bananas are rich in magnesium, which favors sleep. So, they're a great midnight (or 3 am) snack.
5. Make sure to open the window as soon as you get home to air your bedroom and have it cool. This will help your body temperature go down a little bit, which also helps with sleep.
Above all, just make sure you drink responsibly this holiday season. No one likes to open up gifts hungover.
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