Wine and Sleep

Your work day is done, and you are ready to pop the cork off that beautiful glistening bottle of wine that you pulled out for the evening meal. As the evening wears on, you can hardly keep your eyes open as you melt into your covers and fall asleep. Then, around 3 a.m., your eyes pop open, and you struggle to get good rest after that. Did wine help or hurt your sleep pattern?

What kind of wine helps you sleep?

Studies have shown that red wine is the best to induce drowsiness. The reason lies in the grapes. The entire grape, including the skins, is used in making red wine, which happens to contain melatonin. Once red wine is consumed, your brain receptors slow down and bring on that feeling of calm. This creates the sedative properties that red drinkers feel after a few glasses. The grape skins are removed with white wines, so the effect may not be the same.

When should you stop drinking to get a good night’s sleep?

Studies have shown that the best idea is to stop drinking within four hours of going to sleep. It gives your body time to metabolize the alcohol. Consumption of food can also help with alcohol absorption. If you fall asleep with that alcohol-induced sleepiness, you may notice later you wake up and find yourself feeling restless.

How much is just the right amount of alcohol to drink before sleeping?

The recommendation is no more than two glasses before bed or in general. If you do go over that amount, it is certainly possible that you may still fall asleep quickly, but that “sleepy” chemical Adenosine will wear off and may wake you back up in the middle of the night. Then, you could struggle to get back to sleep. Also, alcohol can alter REM sleep patterns, which could mean you may not get the deep sleep your body needs.

Yes, red wine does make you sleepy. It can also make you sleep less deeply and wake you up later. It is really about paying heed to the time and quantity consumed that will provide the optimum relaxation into your evening, followed by restful, restorative sleep. Finding that balance is essential.

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