Alcohol And Sleep Apnea – Most of us take a nightcap before going to bed to help us feel relaxed and ready for sleeping. Having a glass of wine after a long day at work is usually one of the perks that we give ourselves at the end of the day, but although alcohol can help us get some night’s sleep, some may have difficulty sleeping continuously because they end up snoring excessively. How is this even possible?
Effects Of Alcohol To Your Sleep
It’s true that some of us can easily fall asleep after a glass of wine or two, but are they really getting a good night’s sleep? A study that was conducted by a certain Christian Nicholas from the University of Melbourne studied 24 participants who were given different types of alcoholic beverage to drink. Although many were able to fall asleep, they noticed that both the alpha and delta waves were working as the participants were sleeping.
The alpha waves happen while you are awake, but your brain is resting while delta waves, or slow-wave sleep, occur when you are in deep sleep with your brain going through all the experiences and memories that you had for the day. The combination of these waves was commonly found in patients who were suffering from chronic pain conditions which can affect the quality of their sleep. Unfortunately, this disruption in their sleep can lead to daytime sleepiness, mood swings, and even sleep-disordered breathing such as sleep apnea.
Alcohol And Sleep Apnea
Does alcohol make sleep apnea worse? It seems that alcohol consumption can make your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) worse. You see, regular alcohol intake can actually disrupt your circadian rhythms to the point that sleep disorders arise. Drinking alcohol may inhibit your body from going through the sleep cycle at night which starts from non rem sleep to REM sleep.
In an episode of obstructive sleep apnoea, the airways in your throat become narrowed to the point that your breathing gets disrupted. This disruption can jolt you awake but because you tend to fall asleep fast, you may hardly notice the effects of OSA. However, this doesn’t mean that there will be no after-effects since you’ll experience excessive daytime sleepiness when alcohol and sleep apnea mix. Those who are at risk of obstructive apneas and hypopneas include those who are overweight are middle-aged men, and those whose airway tend to narrow.
Chronic alcohol consumption can make apnea worse to those who were diagnosed with this sleep-disordered breathing and can increase your risk of having one when you consume alcohol excessively. One reason behind this is that the muscles in the upper airway becomes loose that they become obstructive to the point that your sleep is disturbed several times into the night. You might not notice this but snoring and sleep apnea can take a toll on your sleeping routine. This can make you prone to accidents especially when you are driving since you are missing out on your much-needed sleep.
There are two possible causes on why you pause in your breathing at night after drinking alcohol and these are obstructed sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Sleep apnea symptoms include heavy snoring, difficulty in breathing, and sleepless night.
Even without you being diagnosed with sleep apnea OSA, if you are snoring at night, and you are drinking alcohol all the time, there is a huge chance that it will be difficult for you to go into deep sleep because of this.
How To Minimize Snoring When Drinking
Does alcohol make sleep apnea worse? Yes, it does. Even if you are simply snoring at night, or have an untreated sleep apnea, drinking alcohol can make your condition worse since your throat muscles become lax and obstruct your breathing. Now that you have an idea on how alcohol and sleep apnea go together, you’re probably thinking on how you can alleviate the problem, so you will be able to sleep better at night.
Well, the best way to avoid snoring like crazy at night is to refrain from drinking alcohol especially when you are about to go to bed. Unfortunately, this sounds easier said than done. For those who can’t really avoid drinking, you can counter the effects of alcohol by drinking while you are eating. This can reduce the amount of alcohol that gets absorbed in the body thus there will be less snoring at night.
You can also make use of oral appliances such as continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP which is a machine that helps your breathing at night. A clinical study has shown that the positive airway pressure therapy does help with your breathing because of the constant airway pressure.