Alcohol and Fatigue
By Dr. Douglas Howard - 04/10/2017

Did you know the nightcap you are taking before bedtime to help you sleep may be to blame for your tired afternoons?

Many people think that a little nightcap will help them sleep soundly through the night. Although alcohol’s sedative effects can make you drowsy, they also have other effects that can interfere with quality sleep.

Alcohol may account for 10% of cases of persistent insomnia. Several hours after that nightcap, the alcohol raises the body’s level of epinephrine—a stress hormone that increases the heart rate and generally stimulates the body, which can result in nighttime awakenings.

Alcohol also relaxes throat muscles. This relaxation can worsen snoring and contribute to sleep apnea. What’s more, alcohol may increase the need to urinate during the night...just another way in which it can disrupt sleep.

Alcohol’s sedative quality can even rob you of energy in the day. Drinking wine, beer, or hard liquor can make you feel drowsy or lethargic. If you didn’t sleep well the night before, even one drink can make you drowsy.