Reduce Daytime Drowsiness By Ditching The Nightcap
It’s been one of those days. Your mind’s still racing over tomorrow’s never-ending ‘to do’ list and you can’t switch off. So what do you do? Go to bed and stare at the ceiling, or reach for a nightcap? Many people would choose the tipple to help them get some serious shut eye. But the truth is, alcohol and sleep don’t make great bed fellows – and that nightcap could even affect your performance the next day. Here’s why.
Alcoholic beverages, like whiskey or brandy, have traditionally been taken before bedtime to help people fall asleep. But although alcohol can induce the deep, slow wave sleep that helps your body and brain to relax, it also has a detrimental effect on restorative, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
To get the best quality of refreshing and rejuvenating sleep, your body switches between the two states of non-REM and REM sleep throughout the night. Most non-REM sleep happens in the first part of the night. The first episode of REM sleep will occur after about 90 minutes and may only last between one and five minutes. However, during the night, your body’s circadian rhythms will gradually tip the balance in favour of more prolonged periods of REM sleep. So, although alcohol will reduce the time it takes to get to sleep, the payback is that it will disrupt your sleep in the second half of the night. A double whammy that will affect both the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Lots of studies have shown that disrupting REM sleep can cause daytime drowsiness and poor concentration. You may even find it difficult to process information and make decisions. And the bigger the tipple, the more pronounced those effects will be. In fact, having more than one or two alcoholic drinks before bedtime can cause you to wake up more often during the night. That’s because alcohol has an arousal effect when it’s metabolised in your body. And just one night of interrupted sleep could play havoc with your mood and energy levels.
If you want to start each new day with a spring in your step, ditch the nightcap and follow our tips for a great night’s sleep:
- Start to wind down at least an hour before bedtime by switching off gadgets (yes, that does include your smartphone). It will help your mind to switch off too.
- A bubble bath by candlelight will soothe any tensions and relax your body. Don’t forget to have a warm bath towel ready to wrap yourself up in.
- Drink a mug of warm milk. The amino acid tryptophan that it contains has natural sedative effects that are thought to help you fall asleep.
- Half an hour before bedtime, take 15ml of Benenox. It will support your body, so you get a good night of quality sleep (REM sleep) and an overnight recharge.
- Make sure your bedroom is a sleep sanctuary. Dim the lights, draw the curtains and slip between the sheets.
- Close your eyes, melt into your mattress.
With no nightcap to disrupt your sleep patterns, you should enjoy a deeply restorative slumber. And you’ll notice the difference from the moment you wake up. No more drowsiness, brain fog and low energy levels. You’ll feel completely refreshed and ready to take on the day with enhanced powers of concentration and a cool, clear head.
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