What Effects Does Drinking Alcohol Have On The Body – Alcohol has many effects on how our body functions, and sleep is no exception. Alcohol can make you drowsy and help you fall asleep more easily, but it actually only harms the quality of your sleep.
Read on to learn how alcohol affects your sleep and what you can do to help you sleep better, even after you’ve had a drink.
What Effects Does Drinking Alcohol Have On The Body
You’ll probably find that you start to feel tired after a few drinks. It is the sedative properties of alcohol that slow down the functioning of our brain. It can help you feel more relaxed and sleepy. When you go to bed, you may find it easier to fall asleep than usual.
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The effects of drinking alcohol before bed can trick some people into believing they are sleeping better, when in fact the opposite is true.
Even one or two alcoholic drinks can affect the quality of your sleep. Drinking above the weekly guidelines for alcohol consumption recommended by experts can contribute to feeling excessively tired the next day. There are several reasons for this:
Dr. Natasha Bijlani, Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital Roehampton, explains how quickly falling asleep from drinking alcohol is outweighed by the disruption it can cause to your sleep cycles, even days or weeks after a period of heavy drinking.
He says: “The more widespread, disruptive effects of alcohol consumption on sleep include more frequent awakenings, poorer sleep quality resulting from a reduction in deep sleep and an increase in restless REM sleep, in addition to earlier than usual awakenings, making people feel they have not had enough sleep.”
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If you have a condition like sleep apnea, drinking alcohol can make it much worse. The Sleep Foundation states that for someone with sleep apnea, drinking alcohol:
For those who are addicted to alcohol, addiction to this substance can affect our sleep in even more harmful ways.
If you drink heavily for several weeks, your body can develop a tolerance to alcohol, both physically and psychologically. You may find that over time you will be drinking larger amounts to achieve the same effects. In these cases, disturbed sleep will become a common symptom of your alcohol addiction.
This will increase the harmful effects of alcohol. Falling asleep may be easier, but you will always have poorer sleep quality. If you stop drinking, you may experience the unpleasant effects of alcohol withdrawal as your body physically reacts to the lack of alcohol in your system. Withdrawal symptoms can include a number of unpleasant sensations such as headaches, vomiting and hot flashes – all of which can contribute to keeping you up at night. Additionally, some alcohol withdrawal symptoms are psychological and can include things like anxiety, panic attacks, and vivid nightmares. They can also disturb your sleep.
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If you’re heading out for a night out or know you’re going to have quite a few drinks, there are things you can do to mitigate the effects of alcohol on your sleep. Healthy sleeping habits can also help you sleep better in the long run.
Cutting back on alcohol is the best way to get better sleep, but here are some healthy sleep strategies to adopt when you drink:
At Priory, we offer exceptional alcohol addiction treatment across our network of UK rehab centres. If your alcohol dependence is affecting aspects of your life, including sleep, it may be time to contact us for additional support.
Use the information below to contact the Priory team to book a free, no-obligation addiction assessment.
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For details of how Priory can help you with addiction treatment and rehabilitation, call 0330 056 6023 or click here to book your FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT. For professionals who wish to make a referral, click here. A number of changes are needed to raise public awareness of the fact that drinking alcohol increases the risk of several types. That’s the key conclusion of a new study by an NCI research team.
The study confirmed that most American adults are unaware of the connection between alcohol consumption and It was also found that even among those who are aware, there is a belief that it varies depending on the type of alcohol. For example, more participants were aware of the risks from spirits and beer than those from wine, with some participants believing that wine reduced the risk.
“All types of alcoholic beverages, including wine, increase the risk,” said Dr. Andrew Seidenberg, who led the study while he was a prevention fellow at the NCI. “Unfortunately, there have been very few attempts to raise public awareness of the link between alcohol and alcohol. Research is needed to find out what are the best messages and what are the best [ways] to deliver those messages.”
In order to carry out the study, Dr. Seidenberg together with dr. William Klein, associate director of the NCI’s Behavioral Research Program, and colleagues reviewed responses to the annual survey of health literacy among US adults. The findings were published on December 1
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Dr. Klein said the study’s findings are important because they help “document gaps in awareness that, if addressed, can support system-level efforts to reduce alcohol’s health impact, such as increased regulation and changes in social norms.”
Noelle LoConte, MD, an oncologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies alcohol and risk, said these findings confirm what doctors have long observed.
“One of the most common statements I get when I ask people if they drink is, ‘Well, I only drink beer,'” suggesting there is a difference between beer and spirits in terms of their risks, said Dr. LoConte, who was not involved in the study. “This study gets to the root of where this belief that hard liquor is somehow worse for you may be coming from.”
Researchers and health professionals can do more to dispel these misconceptions, added Dr. LoConte. “We really need to make sure we reinforce the message that all alcohol increases risk,” she said.
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According to the World Health Organization, almost 4% of diagnoses worldwide in 2020 can be attributed to alcohol consumption. In the United States alone, approximately 75,000 cases and 19,000 deaths are alcohol-related each year.
Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol, which is a known carcinogen, and there are several ways in which it can cause cancer. For example, ethanol can increase estrogen in the body, which increases the risk of breasts. The breakdown of ethanol in the body can also produce high levels of acetaldehyde, which can damage DNA and cause liver, head and neck, and esophagus damage.
Since the risk increases with the amount of ethanol consumed, all alcoholic beverages pose a risk. However, public awareness of this risk is lower than for other carcinogens.
For example, another recent survey found that 93% of the US public is aware of the risks associated with tobacco, compared to only 39% of alcohol.
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This is not surprising, said Dr. Klein. There have been decades of public education campaigns about the health risks of tobacco, warning labels on tobacco products and smoke-free laws.
“System-level changes, such as regulations requiring health warning labels on cigarettes, would be nearly impossible without greater awareness,” said Dr. Klein. “We’re just not there for alcohol yet.”
In order to better understand the public’s awareness of the risks posed by drinking alcohol and what factors could influence this awareness, Dr. Seidenberg and colleagues analyzed data from the NCI’s 2020 National Health Information Trends Survey (HINTS), a national mail-in survey that collects information about the public’s knowledge of and related health topics.
The participants in the research are a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18 and over. Almost 4,000 people who participated in the research were asked how much drinking several types of alcohol (wine, beer and spirits) affects the risk of developing .
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Older studies have linked moderate alcohol consumption to heart health benefits. However, based on more recent, large-scale studies, public health experts now generally agree that alcohol—including wine—does not have a so-called “cardioprotective” effect. However, the research team also asked participants about the perceived heart health benefits of alcohol to see if this was related to their awareness of alcohol and risk.
Overall, the researchers found that awareness of the risks associated with drinking alcohol is low. Awareness was highest for alcoholic beverages, but less than one-third of participants said alcoholic beverages increased risk.
Participants were least aware of the risk associated with wine. In fact, about 10% of participants believed that drinking wine actually reduced risk.
The researchers observed similar perceptions about the link between type of alcohol and heart disease: Fewer adults believed there was a risk associated with wine than drinking beer and spirits, and more believed wine reduced the risk of heart disease.
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The study also found that people who believed that drinking alcohol increased their risk of heart disease were more aware of the risks of alcohol – than those who were unsure or believed that drinking reduced their risk
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