Does a Nightcap Help You Sleep?

Thinking back to the olden days before the invention of television and sleeping pills, it is interesting to wonder how people dealt with their inability to sleep at night. This is a struggle that some humans have been dealing with since the beginning of civilization, and this condition known as insomnia is even more prevalent in the modern day. Back then, people would indulge in a nightcap to help them get to sleep. But does a nightcap help you sleep?

This practice of having a late-night glass of whiskey or bourbon is always said to give your body the boost it needs to start feeling restful and weary.

But does that one quick shot of alcohol do the trick? Is it really an effective treatment for insomnia? At Sleep MD NYC, our sleep specialists know how much everything you do during your day can affect you when you sleep. While nightcaps might be a traditional remedy for insomnia, that doesn’t mean they work. You may be better off with the best insomnia treatment New York has around at Sleep MD.

Read more about how nightcaps are not as effective for sleep as you may believe, and how alcohol can inhibit your ability to get a good night’s rest.

Alcohol and Sleep

Understanding whether or not a nightcap is good for you at night requires an understanding of how alcohol interacts with your brain.

Why do people enjoy drinking at social gatherings when they want to dance and have fun? It’s because of the way alcohol makes your body feel. Why then would that same substance also be used to help you fall asleep?

That is a question that should be asked of the 20% of Americans who use alcohol to help them sleep. And if you ask any of them, they will tell you that drinking a little bit of alcohol at night ha helped them fall asleep faster.

This is true; alcohol does induce quicker sleep. But that does not mean it is good for you or your sleep rhythms.

How Alcohol Disrupts Natural Sleep Patterns

Your body needs some time to adjust to your sleep schedule naturally. Your body has a way of going through the different stages of sleep that require a very particular schedule and pattern if you are to wake up feeling rested. But when you drink alcohol before bed, you are forcing your body to enter a resting phase that it is not ready for.

Therefore, alcohol can disrupt the patterns and regularities of your sleep schedule, even if you do fall asleep quickly. You might find that you are starting to develop other issues while sleeping, which may include:

  • Being a lighter sleeper than you used to be
  • Waking up several times throughout the night
  • You have to go to the bathroom once or more during the night, and it disrupts your sleep

Fortunately, these negative effects can be prevented. If you are used to giving yourself a little nightcap when you go to bed, you’ll have to invest in a lifestyle change. After you stop drinking at night, your body can start to go back to its natural sleep patterns.

So does a nightcap help you sleep? Not necessarily. It is healthier to have alcohol no sooner than three hours before you go to bed, if not earlier. This gives your body plenty of time to get rid of the negative effects of alcohol before entering the important stages of sleep.

Get Better Sleep the Right Way!

There are many ways that you can help your body feel more tired and get to sleep on time. You do not have to rely on alcohol or any form of a nightcap to induce sleep for you. The longer you make a habit of drinking alcohol before bed, the more you are putting your body at risk of damaging your sleep cycles even more.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mayank Shukla and work on a solution to get your life and your sleep schedule back in your own hands. Our sleep disorder treatment New York is the best around. You don’t need to deal with insomnia forever – there are reliable treatments and prevention methods available!

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