Everyone has had a night or two when it’s been difficult to fall asleep. For many people, sleeping well may be difficult at times. Many variables influence how good a person’s sleep is on a daily basis. According to the Mayo Clinic, maintaining an established sleep schedule, limited daytime naps, and finding strategies to manage anxiety can all aid in improving anyone’s quality of sleep. In addition to numerous lifestyle habits, certain drinking behaviors have a significant impact on how much rest you get each night.
You may have heard that having a warm glass of milk before going to bed will help you sleep better, but the practice is still up for debate. We sat down with a handful of dietitians to get information on the most detrimental beverage routines, including which ones disrupt sleep the most.
Consider avoiding a few Eating Habits for Better Sleep After 50 and maximizing how restful you feel in the morning to drift off to sleep even easier.
1 — Drinking alcohol too late at night
Anyone who goes to the bars after work may encounter a number of alcohol-related problems in terms of obtaining a decent night’s sleep.
“Alcohol has a number of physiologic side effects that lead to hangovers,” explains Trista Best, RD at Balance One Supplements. “First, alcohol increases the frequency of urination, which can cause dehydration and eventually severe headaches.”
However, the damaging effects of alcohol on sleep are significantly less than those who drink spirits, wine, or beer in order to fall asleep.
2 — Using alcohol as a sleep aid
“Alcohol is a big no-no when it comes to sleep,” Best explains. “Roughly 20% of the adult population uses alcohol as a sleeping aid, but this is a widespread misconception that alcohol has the opposite effect. There’s a popular misconception that consuming alcohol will improve your sleep, when in fact it will make it worse. When you drink, alcohol disrupts the REM cycle, which means you’ll get poorer sleep. Alcohol also inhibits melatonin production by up to 20 percent of the body’s natural melatonin output. Melatonin is an endocrine produced by the pineal gland that regulates our sleep-wake cycle and helps us fall asleep more easily and wake feeling refreshed.”
Avoid planning an evening drink as a method to induce sleep, and remember that combining it with the Worst Foods for a Good Night’s Rest, According to Sleep Experts, is not advised.
3 — Drinking caffeinated beverages too close to bed
Caffeine is known to keep people awake and alert, but it also causes trouble for those who need to relax comfortably at the end of the day.
“Energy drinks and colas are hidden sources of caffeine, which might make it hard for someone to fall asleep,” warns Rachel Fine. “Unlike coffee, people aren’t typically aware of the amount of caffeine that can build up from energy sodas and drinks, thus they may be at risk for levels that can disrupt sleep patterns.”
“Caffeine is a stimulant that’s well-known,” says Katie Tomaschko. “So it should come as no surprise that drinking too much caffeine in the afternoon may result in poor sleep quality. Try to avoid consuming any caffeine after 6 p.m. or so.”
4 — Drinking anything too close to bed
According to one study, drinking a glass of milk right before sleep may negatively affect your sleeping patterns.
Although our bodies are quite clever and reduce urine output considerably as we sleep (thank you, bodies!), drinking too much liquid before bedtime might cause you to get up in the middle of the night to urinate. Avoid a large glass of water (or anything) just before sleeping. This will also aid acid reflux prevention.