Nightcaps have been around forever and are often part of peoples night-time ritual. But do they really improve the ability to fall and stay asleep or is it just a myth? We all know alcohol isn't great for our overall health but is it the secret elixir of sleep? 15% of people admit to having a nightcap before bed, it's especially popular in Europe. So, let's find out, Does a Nightcap Really Help You Sleep?
Does alcohol make you tired?
So does alcohol make us tired? Yes and no. Alcohol can aid most of us when falling asleep because it does have the tendency to make us feel sleepy since it affects the central nervous system and makes us a bit slower in general. But drinking too much can actually have the opposite effect. It's true that our first or second drink tends to make us tired, and then the following drinks make us more alert. So if you are planning on having a good night sleep, keep the drinking to a minimum and you should off to sleep fairly quickly.
So, do nightcaps really help with sleep?
A lot of the time, a nightcap seems like a quick fix to falling asleep. Which if done correctly, it is. But people that drink alcohol before bed often fall asleep quicker but tend to wake up during the night as the alcohol wears off. That's because the alcohol sends you straight into a deep sleep cycle. Whereas on a normal day, it takes most of us between 1 hour-3 hours to hit a deep sleep cycle. If you reach a deep sleep cycle quicker, you're more likely to wake up when it's over. Causing broken, restless sleep.
Should I have a nightcap?
On occasions, there's nothing wrong with having a glass of alcohol before sleep. But if you find yourself waking up in the night from it, you're better off avoiding it, going down the natural route and taking longer to fall asleep. Broken sleep has a far worse effect on our bodies than losing an hour because of being unable to fall asleep. Overall, a nightcap is great if it works for you but if you're struggling to sleep it's best to stick it out the natural way and eventually, you'll get back into a normal, healthy sleep cycle.