You are dressed up and ready to spend a night out on the town drinking with a few of your friends, fully aware of the effects alcohol has on sleep. You prepare yourself to spend the next day in full hangover mode, curled up on your bed as you nurse a bottle of water and attempt to regain the sleep you lost.
What if you didn’t have to suffer at the hands of your alcoholic drinks, but rather, faced the problem head on?
Achieving an adequate amount of sleep after a night of drinking can be next to impossible, as the alcohol works against your body as the night progresses, but with these tips, you can get the rest you need. They will cover each section of your alcohol journey:
- Prepare before you leave the house
- Keep a level head when drinking with your friends
- Take the necessary steps when you get home
Before You Leave the House
Your improved sleep doesn’t start when you take your first sip of the Martini you plan on buying, but rather, from the moment you cross the threshold into your very own home after work. You need to plan ahead in order to get the best sleep possible, so when you stumble through the door you are prepared to tackle alcohol-ruined sleep into the dust.
1. Exercise Before Heading Out
Exercise can be applied to physical and mental muscles, as they each have a point of exhaustion. When you climb beneath your covers at night, it is a good idea to be physically and mentally exhausted, as this is when you achieve your best rest. Your body will be ready to recover and allow itself to be dragged into unconsciousness as the weight of the day presses down upon you.
The type of exercise you endure depends upon your job or how you spent your day before having to get ready to hit the bars. If you spend your day in an office, staring at a computer screen for the duration of your shift, physical exercise would be a beneficial addition to your day.
A warehouse worker, on the other hand, spends their day lifting and moving heavy items, exercising their physical muscles for the entirety of the day. A mentally stimulating activity would be a better option, as the repetitive nature of their work requires little to no mental effort, and a way to achieve a deeper sleep.
When exercising you don’t have to do an entire workout, but it does have to be something that gets the wheels turning or your blood pumping. It should wear you down, but not to the point of utter exhaustion where you feel like sitting down and never getting back up again. Nothing too stressful, but stimulating enough to help convince your body when it is time for bed from how tired it actually is.
Some exercise options you could consider:
- A light jog around the block
- A session of zoomba
- Sweeping or vacuuming
- Reading a few chapters of your book
- Solve a few sudoku puzzles
2. Create Your Very Own Sleep Haven
When you have been out drinking the last thing you want to do is come home and get ready for bed. Most people scrape their keys along the door, struggling to get it into the lock, before trudging into their bedroom and collapsing on the spot. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you didn’t change out of your clothes, even though your best friend spilled beer down the front of your blouse.
Creating a space for you to come home too is the best way to combat a restless night of sleep after drinking, as it creates a haven for sleep. These tips are healthy sleep habits, so anyone can follow them to up their sleep game to the next level.
The body prefers to sleep in cooler weather, so you should set the thermostat to rest between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body will react negatively to anything cooler or hotter than this, causing you to wake before you are ready. If you don’t have a thermostat you can always open a window or set up a fan to cool your room to the correct temperature.
It is also important to provide yourself with all of the necessities you need to prepare for bed. This includes laying out a pair of pajamas at the end of your bed for you to change into and to place a water bottle on your nightstand. This will minimize the reasons you might need to get up out of bed in the middle of the night because now everything you need is within arm’s reach.
3. Eat a Well-Balanced Meal
The body’s ability to fight the effects of alcohol is dependent upon the types of foods you eat before you head out. Drinking on an empty stomach will only lead to bad things and a night of constant bathroom visits.
You should eat a well-balanced meal, preferably filled with carbs and some sort of red meat. The red meat contains a mixture of proteins and vitamin B, which provide your body with the materials it needs to process any byproducts of the alcohol. Any food you consume will slow the absorption of alcohol into your system, allowing it to gradually circulate rather than pound your body with its negative effects all at once.
Out on the Town
You have left in the Uber with your friends, headed to the first bar of the evening, and you can’t wait to get your drink on. This is the true test of whether or not your sleep will suffer the effects of drinking as your ability to control yourself is tested. If you can follow these simple tips your rest will be as flawless as ever as the alcohol takes a backseat while you sleep.
4. Staying Hydrated is the Key
Any drinker knows how important water is to prevent a hangover the next day, but it also applies to your ability to achieve your best sleep. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.
The water will fill you up, preventing you from consuming a large number of drinks throughout the night. This also helps to keep you hydrated, despite your constant bathroom visits, preventing you from waking up in the middle of the night to consume large amounts of water. The goal is to fill your water reserves and continue to keep them full throughout the night to prevent dehydration while you sleep.
If you prefer to drink a lot of alcohol first before switching to water, you can do that as well, just make sure to consume the required glasses of water before heading home. If you don’t, your sleep will pay the price of your water refusal.
It is also recommended you drink a small glass of water before going to bed. Make sure it is not too large as the goal is to sleep, not journey to the bathroom hundreds of times during the night.
5. Avoid Consuming Caffeine
Caffeine is a sure fire way to keep you up after your night at the bar. Caffeine is made to give you energy and keep you awake, which is exactly what you don’t want when you are trying to sleep.
When you are drinking at the bar this same rule applies, which means, no red bull shots or Four Lokos for you. You probably think the caffeine will wear off before you get home, but a Four Lokos contains enough caffeine to fill three cups of coffee. When you are up against those odds there is no chance at a restful night in your future.
You should also avoid caffeinated beverages because they are a fizzy drink. Fizzy drinks expand the stomach as you drink them, which causes the absorption area of the stomach to expand. This, in turn, increases your body’s ability to process alcohol, working against your good sleep protocol.
6. Don’t Smoke Either
When everyone drinks, sometimes a cigar gets passed around to all parties involved. This can be fun, until later when you attempt to fall asleep after your long night. The nice Cuban your friend offered you won’t be worth it when the night is over, despite what your brain might be telling you.
Nicotine is a stimulant, meaning, it works to keep you awake as much as the caffeine you worked so hard to avoid all night. If you smoke cigarettes, this side effect may not be avoidable, but you should try to smoke your last one as early in the night as possible to allow the effects to wear off before attempting to sleep.
7. Cut Yourself Off Early
A good practice to follow is to cut yourself off early, consuming your last drink three to four hours before heading home. This allows the alcohol to leave your system as you continue to have a blast with your friends.
The best way to do this is to drink several drinks at the beginning of your outing and then taper yourself off as the night continues on. This will give you the effects you were looking for, while still allowing your body the time it needs to expel the alcohol from its system. The goal is to have as much alcohol out of your body as possible before calling it quits at bedtime.
Home at Last
Your night out has been fun and now you are at home and ready for bed. You planned ahead and prepared your bedroom for this moment, but there are still a few more things you need to do before hitting the hay.
8. A Few Vitamins Never Hurt
The first is to take a few vitamins which can help replenish key nutrients and provide you with others to assist in the absorption of the alcohol. The vitamins recommended for you to combat alcohol’s effects are:
- Standard Multivitamin
- Vitamin B
- Magnesium Sulfate
- Folic Acid
A secondary option is to skip buying a truckload of vitamins and purchase the Banana Bag Oral Solution instead. Hospitals use an IV solution, called a banana bag, to aid patients suffering from the effects of alcohol.
This oral solution is not a prescription, and it contains all of the necessary vitamins to combat the effects you were hoping to avoid. Its combination of thirteen different vitamins and electrolytes is more efficient than any concoction you could come up with at home, and all contained in a simple drinkable solution.
Another option, which you can purchase at any local store, is Pedialyte. This drink contains the electrolytes you need as it replaces the potassium and salt you lost throughout the night.
9. Small Doses of Pain Meds
It is standard practice to take medicine before you head to bed, but chances are you are probably taking the wrong kind. It is suggested you take a small dose of Ibuprofen before bed, and by small it means only one 250 mg pill.
Many people choose to take Tylenol before crawling beneath the covers, but this is not a healthy option. Tylenol contains Acetaminophen which actually harms your liver when mixed with alcohol.
This harmful action occurs because Tylenol produces a harmful byproduct when metabolized which is usually excreted through the urine. When alcohol is added into the mix it makes it more difficult for the liver to rid the body of this toxic chemical, leading to liver damage.
Another medication to avoid is any sort of sleeping pill, as this has the possibility of causing death. Sleeping pills mess with the rate of your breathing, and alcohol amplifies this as well, which can lead to a detrimental loss of oxygen.
The negative effects of mixing alcohol and sleeping pills are as follows:
- Slowed heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- A decrease in blood pressure
- Impaired motor skills
- Increase the risk of overdosing
10. Late-Night Snacks
You make your way to your bed, but realize, as you spot the fridge, how hungry you are. Your stomach growls as you change course, ready to devour whatever lies before you.
A late-night snack is not a bad idea, as it helps your body absorb the alcohol more slowly as you sleep, granting you a longer period of rest. High fiber foods are your best option, as they achieve this outcome more efficiently than others. A few foods to consider are:
Eating a spoonful of honey or a banana is also not a bad idea, as the simple sugars contained within them are a good way to provide your body with the fuel it needs to combat your drinks.
Your body requires energy to breakdown the contents of the alcohol you put into your system and throughout the night you have the possibility of burning through it. Consuming these foods prevents that from happening, giving you the good night of sleep you were hoping for.
All of these foods also work as a morning snack, or a nice additive to your breakfast, especially if you are still suffering the effects of the alcohol the next day.
11. Remove Any Unnecessary Distractions
You have had your snack, taken your medicine, drank your glass of water, and are ready to crash land into a sea of pillows, but there is still one more tip to follow.
The final step to restful sleep is to remove any distractions which could wake you before your body is ready, mainly due to something called the rebound effect.
- Rebound Effect: when alcohol has been eliminated from the body as you sleep, the body reverts back to normal levels before alcohol was present, creating a disruption in a person’s sleep pattern
This is basically a fancy way of saying your body fluctuates from light to deep sleep more often than you would on a normal night. Your body goes from a drunken stupor to flipping the switch to ON, which is why it is so important to remove anything that could wake you.
Your body is more susceptible to light and sound, so any alarms should be turned off before you go to bed. It is also a good idea to power down your phone to prevent any noises or flashing lights from catching your eye.
You should also consider changing your curtains to blackout curtains, as the slightest environmental change could cause you to wake, ruining your ability to stay asleep. If this is not an option for you, you could invest in a sleep mask to block out any invasion of light.
Noise is another problem drinkers have to contend with. There have been reports of people donning earbuds throughout the night, so birds or a passing ambulance don’t wake them as soon as day breaks.
In conclusion, your sleep is not lost due to your decision to drink, because with careful planning and a level head you can get the rest you deserve. You will wake up feeling alive and well, rather than spending the next day with a bucket and a hangover.