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Dry January: The Secret to Better Sleep?

January 11, 2024

Why do Dry January?

It’s that time of year when many of us reduce our alcohol intake or ditch drinking completely. Whether you're taking part in Dry January or simply interested in its effects, let's delve into how alcohol impacts sleep.

Debunking the nightcap myth

The tradition of having a nightcap goes back centuries and is often associated with relaxation.

After a long day, unwinding with a glass of wine feels like the perfect prelude to a peaceful night's sleep, right? Not quite. This evening ritual might be the culprit behind poor sleep.

How does alcohol affect your sleep?

While alcohol might help you drift off more quickly, it often disrupts sleep later in the night as the alcohol is metabolized. It particularly affects REM sleep, a phase crucial for processing emotions and memories. This leads to more awakenings and longer time spent in the lightest stage of sleep. Ever found yourself wide awake at 5am after drinking? That's likely alcohol’s doing. And the more drinks you have, the more your sleep quality is affected.

Non-alcoholic drinks for Dry January

So, how about swapping that glass for something more sleep-friendly? Here are some cozy (and sober) alternatives to help you drift off:

  • Non-alcoholic alternatives: The act, rather than the drink itself, is often what we crave. Explore zero-alcohol options of your favorite drink or experiment with a mocktail.
  • Herbal teas: A warm cup of herbal tea, like chamomile, can be a comforting end-of-day ritual.
  • Flavored water: Enhance your water with fresh fruit for a refreshing and healthy alternative.

The benefits of cutting down on alcohol

Reducing alcohol intake can significantly improve sleep quality, leading to more rest, enhanced mood, and sharper focus – all thanks to improved REM sleep.

Making a change doesn't have to be drastic. Start small:

  • Embrace moderation: Instead of stopping completely, gradually reduce your intake and go “damp” to improve well-being.
  • Set a 'Happy Hour' rule: Limit alcohol after a certain time to allow your body time to metabolize it before bed.
  • Try alcohol-free weekends: A small commitment that can significantly improve sleep – and save you money!
  • Mindful sipping: Observe how alcohol affects your sleep. Awareness can be a powerful motivator for change.

Tracking your sleep with Sleepwave

Use Sleepwave to track your sleep and see how changes in your drinking habits affect your patterns. This tool is designed not to judge, but to offer you a clear, detailed view of your sleep patterns over time. With this insight, Sleepwave empowers you to take steps towards building a healthier sleep routine. 

And, remember, improving your sleep is a journey. It's not about cutting out the fun; it's about finding new ways to relax and unwind.

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