A few years ago, we saw a sleep doctor who immediately honed in on our drinking habits.
“Sure” she said, “A glass of wine might help you get to sleep, but the only problem with drinking to help sleep is that you can’t drink after you’re asleep!” Her point was that just because alcohol has sedative effects, doesn't mean it's doing anything to improve your sleep.
Dry January is the perfect time to do your own sleep study if you haven’t already. It’s enlightening to record and understand alcohol’s impact on your quality and quantity of sleep.
There are a number of great gadgets and devices out there to automatically collect and analyze sleep data for you - Oura, Whoop, Apple watch, Eight sleep and more. These solutions take all the work and guesswork out of understanding how your body responds to alcohol (or rather this month, the lack of alcohol). Will be great fun to compare your December and January data from these devices.
Alternatively, you can do a simple observation and tracking exercise to get insights. Sleep experts recommend the following: Keep a journal by your bed to track: bedtime, wake up time, # of sleep interruptions.
If you’ve been drinking regularly (even just a couple of times a week ) you’ll likely start to see an improvement in how long you sleep each night and the quality of your sleep (see this study linking alcohol and insomnia). Plus, there are a whole host of extra bonuses - you’ll probably start going to bed earlier, snore less (as inflammation in your body decreases) and have lower risk of sleep apnea.
Sleep is a hot topic in health and wellness circles right now as we are learning more about how important sleep is to the proper functioning of our human systems. We found Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep to be especially enlightening. It’ll make you feel extra great about how you are treating yourself with extra high quality zzzz’s of this month!