How alcohol affects your sleep

Recently I had an accident, which has impacted my sleep. 

I’ve hurt my arm so I couldn’t sleep due to the pain and the anxiety that I developed as a result of the trauma and accident. I soon realised that my tiredness was impacting my anxiety and my anxiety was impacting my chances of a good night’s sleep.  Before I knew it, I was in this vicious cycle where sleep and anxiety were intertwined.  

As soon as I went to bed I was panicking and fearful that I wouldn’t sleep and as soon as I got up I was exhausted and anxious throughout the rest of the day. That went round and round for days. Always longing for a good night’s sleep, but each day that goal seemed further and further away.

Over these days it became so clear to me that sleep is a crucial pillar in my health and well-being. I always knew sleep was important and after a bad night’s sleep I knew I lacked motivation, energy to exercise and I always made poor food choices, but I had never seen so clearly how connected it was to my mental health.

I’m now working really hard and taking steps to try and improve my sleep while reducing my anxiety so that hopefully the two will come together. Hopefully a full night’s sleep should be coming in the near future.

However, it’s times like this that make you reflect, and I cannot believe how much I took my sleep for granted back in my drinking days. I would regularly prioritise alcohol over sleep, unaware of the effect alcohol was having on my sleep, yet morning after morning I would wake up exhausted and fed up.

You see, alcohol can affect your sleep on 2 fronts. First of all, we often slump into a comatose, drunken sleep. This is not real sleep. It’s a drunken sleep and you are held in the state of sleep instead of working your way through all the necessary sleep cycles that you must work through in order to have a restorative sleep that makes us feel rested and awake the next day. 

Secondly, while your body does its best to reach homeostasis, it fights against the depressive nature of alcohol and it does so by flooding your body with hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline – usually just as alcohol wears off and about 2-3 in the morning. This is why you’re waking up.

When we consume alcohol, sleep doesn’t have a chance. And if sleep doesn’t have a chance, neither do we the next day. 

Cutting out alcohol and allowing yourself the chance to get real sober sleep is going to change your life. Life as a busy mum is too hard as it is, why make it even harder by being so tired each day? Why not cut out alcohol, get the sleep you need, get the sleep you deserve and give yourself and your kids a fighting chance the next day?

I’ll never take sleep for granted again, in fact after this I’m going to make sure that sleep is my priority.

If you’re struggling to give up alcohol for good, join our free masterclass designed to help you to better understand and navigate your triggers and cravings and take control of your alcohol-free journey. You will also have the opportunity to meet a supportive community of like-minded individuals, engage in open discussions and share insights. 

– Gillian

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