Can alcohol really help you sleep better at night?
NO, it affects the deep sleep cycle and causes the sleeper to have a more fitful night of sleep. This is due to the fact that the body is processing and metabolizing the alcohol. During this processing, ones’ sleep becomes lighter and more distressed. The notion that drinking alcohol before bed can help you sleep better seems to be widespread in part because in some cases people have believed it can help one fall asleep more quickly. However, it does not actually help you stay asleep or give you the greatest quality of sleep. Concentration of alcohol in the blood is usually highest one hour after ingesting the drink, so drinking too close to falling asleep (even just one drink) can decrease your chances of having a good nights sleep by a significant amount!
It’s also unwise to drink before sleeping, especially the night before a big test or presentation.
Fun Fact: A great deal of memory formation and retention happens while sleeping. If you’re not getting a good quality and a substantial amount of sleep then the memory retention occurring at night is not to its’ best ability. Binge drinking, drinking 5+ drinks for men and 4+ drinks for women in the course of two hours, can affect the brain and body’s functions for up to three days; add that to not getting enough sleep and one’s overall functioning is looking pretty dim.
What less sleep can be doing to you:
1. Increasing episodes of depression
2. Difficulty performing everyday tasks and increased irritability
3. Decreased motivation, memory, and concentration
4. Impaired social functioning
5. Lowered mental stamina
6. Decreased creativity and spontaneity
Can Caffeine really keep you up at night?
Unlike alcohol, caffeine is a stimulant which in turn reduces the flow of sleep inducing chemicals in the brain while also increasing adrenaline production. Caffeine can have stimulating effects as soon as 15 minutes after consuming the beverage and it shortens the deep sleep cycle. It takes around 6 hours for half of the caffeine ingested to be eliminated from your body. Therefore, it is best to curb drinking caffeine at about 6 hours before going to bed. However, at that point only half of the caffeine would be fully processed and eliminated by your body. So maybe it’s best to stick to that one morning cup a day rule.
Fun Fact: It is possible to be physically dependent on caffeine just as it is equally possible to be physically dependent on alcohol. There is a disorder in which many people dependent on caffeine are susceptible to, known as Caffeine Induced Sleep Disorder. This disorder occurs when caffeine has lengthened the amount of time it takes for one to fall asleep.
What caffeine can be doing to you:
1. Reducing fine motor skills
2. Headaches, nervousness, and dizziness
3. Causing insomnia
4. Rapid heartbeat
It’s safe to say that alcohol, caffeine, and sleep do not mix well together. Careful what you choose to drink before bed… Sweet Dreams.
Many of us have uttered these words as we’ve walked out of Target trying to remember where we parked. Some of us may have said these words after a long night of partying hard. Although, driving after a party if you’re completely sober is fine, it is important to remember not to drive after you have had any amount of alcohol.
When people drive after drinking alcohol, the chances of a fatal car accident increase significantly. Nationally, a person is injured approximately every two minutes from alcohol related crashes and every thirty minutes someone is killed because of an alcohol related crash. On average, every weeknight between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., 1 in 13 drivers is drunk; between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., 1 in 7 drivers is drunk (www.dot.nd.gov). If you are caught driving after you have had a few drinks you may receive:
• A class B misdemeanor
• A fine no more than $500 if your BAC is below .1, or two day imprisonment and no more than a $750 fine if your BAC is .16 or greater
• Addiction evaluation
• A 91 day license suspension if your BAC is below 1.8 or a 180 day license suspension if your BAC is 1.8 or higher.
These are some pretty serious consequences for driving while intoxicated, and they just represent the first time you are caught drinking and driving. The second offense has much greater fines and restrictions. Fortunately, we have come up with an acronym to help you remember to be a little more prepared for a fun night without intoxicated driving.
Although you may feel and think you’re fine to drive after you have had some alcoholic drinks, the truth is that the consequences can be deadly. Don’t underestimate the power you have while you are drunk. You have the power to make a bad choice and potentially ruin someone’s life (or your own) and the power to make a good choice and have a safe night. It’s up to you. Last but not least, don’t forget that there are always alternatives to driving drunk, like having a designated driver take you and your friends home, calling a cab, or spending the night at the place you’re at (if it’s a friend’s house).
This week the Health & Wellness Hub will be having a display case in the Memorial Union in honor of education about drunkorexia.
Drunkorexia is a slang, non-medical term that refers to a person or persons who excessively restrict their food calorie intake in order to make more room for the calories of alcohol. Many do this in a number of different ways, but in most cases it involves purging. A number of studies have shown that 30% of women between the ages of 18 to 23 restrict their calories throughout the day in order to make more room for calories from alcohol. This is a new and shocking discovery considering the known risks that this can involve. These behaviors often occur from the fear of weight gain from both drinking and eating. Often times this is seen in college-aged women, but on the other hand, it can also be seen in men. Too often, in many extreme cases, this can be related to medical terms such as anorexia and or bulimia. In such extreme cases vomiting is mostly seen, and alcohol is used to make that process easier.
Combining both binge drinking and eating disorders can have a huge impact on one’s health. These are some of the risks associated with this behavior:
• Drinking on an empty stomach increases the rate at which alcohol reaches the blood stream, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will be raised quickly and self-control will decrease.
• Binge eating may also be experienced because the person is extremely hungry and may be unable to control their urges.
• Purging often follows after these spurts of binging on food.
• Reducing food caloric intake puts a person at risk for not getting the nutrients needed to function properly.
Ways to find balance and stay healthy:
• Moderation instead of elimination: Eating throughout the day and making sure to have three meals a day and plenty of healthy snacks, can help prevent excessive hunger and overeating. This can also help oneself manage their alcoholic beverages with the addition of nutrients in the system.
• Knowing your own limits: Make sure to plan ahead so you are able to manage your alcohol intake. Keep in mind that binge drinking is considered to be 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men in one sitting. Also, make sure to keep track of the amount of drinking that you are doing throughout one sitting. Alternate water or non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic beverages.
• Seek Support: Seeking support, understanding, and advice from loved ones who support a healthy lifestyle can help you get on track as well. Even though drunkorexia is not a medical term and there may not be many support groups, there are groups that do support those with specific eating disorders and alcohol abuse and these together can help one get on the right track when seeking a healthier lifestyle.
“Drunkorexia?” Drunkorexia. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.
i presented today on alcohol and other drugs, cause, well, that’s what i get to do at work 🙂 anyway, Jim Murphy, he’s an awesome guy who works in the counselor’s center here on campus, went after me about the stuff he does and it was great. he had everyone laughing within minutes. he has a background in the business so he gets things like the alcohol industry really well. he said that the tobacco industry is his favorite because they sell people something that kills you. and they sell a lot of it! it’s crazy to think about it that way, especially because we know that it is true. the alcohol industry really functions in the same way. they know that they need to get college students to buy alcohol because that’s when habits and such form. it’s also when we are at the state, developmentally, that goes hand in hand with drinking. so they do everything they can to market alcohol to people under 21. and it works! they make it seem normal. i have nothing to do, what should i do? drink! it’s the weekend, what should i do? drink! i just worked really hard, what should i do? drink! it’s time to celebrate, how should we celebrate? drink! there is not reason why to any of these things, it all just boils right down to the fact that alcohol industries make us think that drinking is the only think to do when we’re bored, on the weekend, after we’ve worked hard or to celebrate. that’s it.
so get this, you know TGIF (Thank God/Goodness Its Friday)? it turns out that the alcohol industry started it! it was all this big marketing campaign that they did! they had people believing that drinking on the weekends is something normal that every does (or should do). but here’s the catch, the weekend was just saturday and sunday… that leaves one afternoon or night of drinking and that’s it. if the weekend starts right away on friday when everyone gets off of work, that’s another night of drinking! which means that’s a whole heck of a lot more of their product being purchased aka MORE MONEY! it was so successful that today all we know is that the weekend starts whenever your work or school or training ends on friday. in fact, there even used to be a series of tv shows strung together as a part of TGIF- the tv industry wanted in too! (that and Boy Meets Girl was a totally awesome tv show!). but where did all of that leave us?
does anyone out there think we shouldn’t have classes on fridays? (i’m assuming many will say yes) okay, why not? so that we can drink thursday nights! it is thirsty thursdays, after all! and now we have wasted wednesdays and tosted tuesdays…sober sunday….where does it end? oh wait…it never did. every day of the week is taken now. holy crap, alcohol industry, you have done one heck of a good job manipulating us!