1 Beware the ‘rebound’ effect
A couple of drinks before bed can help you fall asleep more rapidly, but later in the night, as its sedative properties wear off, there may be a ‘rebound’ effect, making you more likely to wake up and have difficulty getting back to sleep.
2 It affects sleep rhythms
Alcohol interferes with your circadian rhythms which regulate your metabolism, sleep, energy and mood. Disruption to these can result in disturbed sleep, poor liver function, a weak digestive system and low mood.
3 There’s a drink ‘happy hour’
Your body is able to process alcohol most effectively during early to mid-evening — ‘happy hour’ — making this the best time to have a drink and avoid disrupting your sleep cycle.
4 Drinking too late affects melatonin
Drinking alcohol too close to bedtime can suppress melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep/wake cycles. Levels naturally rise in late evening, so drinking can interfere with this process.
5 It affects REM sleep
Studies show that people who are metabolising alcohol spend less time in phases of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This type of sleep is important for learning, memory and mood.