Ditch nightcaps for better sleep
Thursday, 20 May · 2 min read

Yes, that last glass of wine or beer just before bedtime may make you feel drowsy and relaxed. It may even make you fall asleep quicker. But don’t be fooled: drinking alcohol before bed leads to poor sleep quality and less hours spent sleeping.

It interrupts important stages of your sleep cycle, leaving you feeling tired the next day, no matter how many hours you’ve been in bed.

Plus, you may find yourself getting up to pee a lot during the night if you’ve had a drink before bedtime. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, which means it removes fluids from your body more quickly than other liquids do.

Swap alcohol for sleep-friendly drinks

To make sure alcohol doesn't ruin your sleep, stop drinking it at least 4 hours before bedtime. You could also swap your nightcap for a drink that helps improve sleep, like:

  • warm milk – milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which increases the production of the hormone melatonin that helps to regulate the body’s sleep cycle
  • chamomile tea – chamomile contains a calming antioxidant called apigenin, which is believed to help ease anxiety and sleep problems
  • sour cherry juice – research suggests that cherry juice may help your body make more melatonin, possibly helping to improve the quality of your sleep

Did you know, you can use the Healthily app to track your sleep? Go to ‘My account’ then 'My trackers' and choose ‘Sleep length’ and ‘Sleep quality’.

Quick Quiz
On average, 1 unit of alcohol takes around an hour to be processed by the body. True or false?