Will a Glass of Wine Before Bed Help You Sleep?
A nightcap usually refers to a spirit, but others will select a soothing glass of wine before bed instead. After a hard day dealing with what the world throws at you, a wine at bedtime can be just what you need to settle down and forget about it all.
However, tasty grape aside, if you’ve polished off a vino or two before heading off to bed, you’ll be aware of how you drifted off in swift fashion, but its effects don't cease at the point your eyes fall shut.
So, will a glass of wine before bed help you sleep? Let’s delve a little further and find out an objective view, shall we?
So, wine helps you to fall asleep, does it?
If you struggle to reach the Land of Nod with ease each evening, you are definitely not alone. Research has shown that in the region of 70 million Americans have issues of some degree when it comes to sound slumber, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine state. And as history has taught us if you want to doze off, then alcohol is a pretty alluring and simplistic option, isn’t it?
Experts have established that by drinking prior to bed brings about a reduction in sleep latency, and this means that sleep can be induced at a quicker rate than typically experienced.
Why? Well, it’s down to the sedative effects alcohol offers and this can vary in intensity levels depending on blood-alcohol content (BAC) from person to person. What’s more though, numerous studies have highlighted the fact that it’s very possible to develop a tolerance to alcohol’s sedative effects and it can only take three nights to do so!
As such, your body will require bigger volumes of alcohol for you to get back those sleep-inducing effects, so, for people who have a moreish personality, this can be worrying, as it might lead on to alcohol dependency.
A number of wine grapes are potent as far as melatonin is concerned, a study has established (this is a hormone that helps the brain regulate normal sleep). Of the eight grape varieties that featured in the testing, Nebbiolo top first place for the highest melatonin content, with 0.965 nanograms per gram of grape skin (ng/g). The second was a local Italian grape Croatina (0.87 ng/g) followed by Barbera (0.63 ng/g) taking the third spot.
Before you reach for the Nebbiolo, to drink while you lay in comfort in one of the nine highest-rated memory foam beds you can buy in 2018, there’s no such research yet which has determined whether wine's melatonin content can, in fact, make it a wiser go-to than others for your night-time tipple.
Your sleep might not be the of such high quality
So, we’ve ascertained that a bedtime or evening wine can help you to achieve a transition to a state of sleep, but that doesn’t mean to say that you’re guaranteed to enjoy sleep of good quantity and quality. Sleep is one of the biggest components in terms of you being able to be a ‘normal’ human being and function properly.
Research on this topic has cited that, especially when drunk at levels that are beyond what’s classed as moderation, alcohol quashes REM sleep (the phase of sleep associated with dreaming and memory retention).
Sadly, for anyone who had plans to stock up on wine to see them off to sleep after what they read in the first part of the article, these studies indicate that excessive drinking only serves to hinder sleep more severely as the night goes on!
Participants who consumed alcohol displayed a higher rate of deep sleep early on in the night, only to experience sleep disruptions a few hours later, as well as more awakenings during the night with increased amounts of time being awake. This is obviously not what you want when you’re trying to rest and recoup for the following day.
This is where the rebound effect takes place. It’s the undesirable incidences that occur during the second half of sleep that typically happens in and around the same time the alcohol you’ve consumed is metabolized.
During the first half of sleep, the body will make a range of alterations based on the alcohol in your body as a way of supporting a regular sleep pattern.
When the alcohol becomes cleared from your system; which depends on the blood-alcohol content of the individual, some of your body’s tweaks change in the opposite direction, and this brings about lighter stages of sleep and restlessness and wakeful behavior.
This goes a long way to offering an explanation as to why, after an especially heavy or long night on the booze, you can wake earlier than usual and feel totally wide-awake even when you’ve not slept for long at all.
So, to summarise, you have to make an informed decision on whether you want to fall asleep or stay asleep while maintaining quality time in dreamland too. The occasional wine won’t ruin your world, so don’t panic, but it might be safer to save the wine for when you’re not heading to bed, just to err on the side of caution.