bourbon

Will Bourbon help you sleep?

Do you ever feel like you have too much going on, and only a glass or two of bourbon can get you that elusive sleep you dearly long for? Well, you are not alone. Most people drink some alcohol, especially after a tough day, to help them get some right shut-eye.

This leads us to the question, ‘will alcohol help you sleep’? Well, there are those who swear a drink before bedtime does wonders, while those disagree. Each category is armed with facts that support their stand. Let us look at both perspectives, and then you will be able to make your judgment and make your own decision, right?

1. Bourbon promotes sound sleep.

It is said that whiskey makes you feel relaxed and tired, therefore boosting your sleep quality. However, the catch is that if you drink too much whiskey, you will not enjoy this benefit. Consequently, it is wise to drink in moderation, and just a glass will do the trick. The science behind this is that alcohol enhances adenosine’s brain levels, which helps you feel drowsy. Due to this, you will likely accompany your dinner with a glass of whiskey to help you transition to sleep.

2. Bourbon inhibits sleep.

There is a lot of debate about alcohol and sleep; let us look at some science that supports this statement. It is believed that how often you drink, and whether you drink close to bedtime, affects your sleep negatively. Sleeping with alcohol in your system is said to cause more harm than good; you get more restless during the night, the sleep quality goes down, and a sense of fatigue the very next day.

So, what is the science that defends this?

It is a fact that you feel drowsy after a drink or two, have a bit more, and you will pass out! Immediately you go to bed, and alcohol is being metabolized, you will have “deep, slow-wave sleep and less time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.”

REM sleep, usually around ninety minutes after we fall asleep, is essential during the first half of the night, but it gets deprived once you consume alcohol. In turn, this affects the restoration of your mind, mainly the emotional and memory processing, and further causes a lack of concentration,  a sense of fatigue, and drowsiness during the day.

After the metabolism of alcohol, this is mainly during the second half of the night; sleep is disrupted. The alcohol’s sedation has worn off at this point, and you will drift to lighter sleep. This is also where you will get up to visit the bathroom, affecting the whole sleep cycle. Scientists know this as the “rebound effect.”

Different bottles of bourbons
Different bottles of bourbons


Other alcohol-related sleep interruptions

 need to get up in the night more frequently to visit the bathroom and may have trouble getting any sleep after that.

-Experiences of sleepwalking, sleep talking, or sleep eating, known as parasomnias.

-Snoring; this is because your muscles, especially the neck, throat, and head, have relaxed so much, it interferes with your breathing.

You may think, what if I am insomniac? Will alcohol help me sleep?

The sedation offered by alcohol may seem the right solution for insomnia because it will help you sleep faster. Most insomniacs do take to drinking alcohol before sleep to help with their condition.

A warning in this regard is not to use whiskey, or alcohol as a sleep aid. The more you rely on alcohol, the more you may become dependent on it, which is not a good idea at all. While you may have trouble sleeping, thinking that a whiskey glass will help you is a misguided notion. You might get temporary relief, as in, you will immediately fall asleep but may have trouble later on in the night and end up not getting quality sleep.

Reliance on alcohol to fall asleep may lead to a tolerance to its sedation effects. You may find that while at first, you needed just a glass of bourbon to fall asleep, you gradually increase your intake to even a whole bottle to get to sleep.

A terrible idea, however, would be to mix alcohol with sleeping pills. This can be very dangerous and however tempting it may look at the time, NEVER do it!

Some tips for sleep aids for insomniacs are;

  • Getting regular exercise at least a few hours before going to bed.
  • Keeping a cool temperature in the bedroom.
  • Setting regular waking and sleeping times.
  • Avoiding any caffeine or nicotine.

The overall conclusion in this regard is that while it may seem fit for an insomniac to use alcohol as a sleeping aid, it is detrimental to their health in the long run.

So, how long do I have to wait after my glass of bourbon?

This is definitely a question you have in mind as of now, no? Do you wonder how long you should wait before you go to bed? The recommendation is that you should not take alcohol during the four hours before you go to bed. This way, any alcohol you consume will have been metabolized in your body. It is said a serving of alcohol takes about an hour to be metabolized.

So the next time you want to indulge, please wait a while before you go to bed. This will be sure to guarantee you some good shut-eye.

Moderation is important

The key to enjoying a good nightcap and a good sleep afterward is to regulate your drinking. Having just a glass of whiskey will not lead to disruptive sleep as opposed to when you choose to drink several glasses or a whole bottle!

Some studies prove that social drinking before going to bed affects how alert you will be and how your mind will function the next day. This may not be the case if you have one drink. I guess this is why some progressions restrict drinking, for example, doctors and pilots. They sure do need their alertness all the time!

How much is too much alcohol to drink?

Too much drinking can worsen the disrupting effects of alcohol. It is argued that even moderated drinking like two or three glasses a day can cause sleep issues and disrupt many people’s performance.

The proper recommendation is to cut down your drinking to around two to three times a week. This will give you the liberty to enjoy a few drinks with friends, go out fine dining and enjoy a glass of wine, and end your day with a glass of bourbon after a hard day’s work. So you will get to enjoy your whiskey without affecting any of sleep or functionality within the week. 

You may often require to substitute your alcohol with something else, which is not a bad idea after all. What would you do for a good quality sleep, an increase in mental sharpness, and higher energy levels? I bet you can even go without that glass of bourbon as a nightcap.

Glasses of bourbon and coke
Glasses of bourbon and coke


A summary

Any amount of alcohol you consume will indeed make fall asleep much faster. The sedative nature of alcohol cannot be ignored.

However small or large your dosage of alcohol, you will have a good sleep in the first half and then get more disruptions in the second half.

REM sleep is considered very important as it is when your mind rests. Dosage of alcohol, especially very high ones, will reduce the amount of REM sleep, you will have this affecting the overall sleep patterns.

What are the benefits of REM sleep?

You have already heard that this is the more vital type of sleep, but what benefit is it to the body? Let’s find out;

-During REM, the “sleeping brain” is at its most active state. The brain organizes, sort, and processes memories and information. This is the stage where you will have your dreams.

-REM helps in the restoration of the body and the brain.

When REM sleep is disrupted, it will result in poor concentration, men.ory, and sometimes your motor abilities will be affected.

If you have ever wondered why you feel a lower mood and reduced energy levels, disruptive REM sleep causes that. 

Researchers claim that there is no safe amount of alcohol that you can drink that will not affect your sleep. So bottom line? That glass of whiskey is a good way of enjoying your weekend socializing with friends, but not a very good idea if you think of it as an aid to good quality sleep.

Judging from the tone of this article, there is a lot of fact about alcohol’s negative effects. I guess the second stand carries the day! What are your thoughts? Do you find that a glass of bourbon helps you get a good night’s sleep?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top