Alcohol and sleep don't go together. Contrary to popular belief, a beer or a glass of wine before bed isn't a great idea. Even though an alcoholic drink may help you fall asleep faster, it may keep you from sleeping through the night. This is called a "rebound effect." And women are affected more than men are.

Why Alcohol Can Cause Restless Sleep

We all have a sleep control center that's located in the lower brain stem. Certain nerve cells in this center produce serotonin, which regulates our appetites, our moods, and even our sleep cycles. Different nerve cells produce other chemicals that also regulate sleeping patterns.

Basically, this control center determines how quickly we fall asleep, and how long we stay in dreamland, as well. Alcohol interferes with how this control center works, often resulting in insomnia.

If you have a drink within an hour of going to bed, it may help you conk out a little faster. But during the second half of the night, you may doze fitfully, waking up easily, and having trouble sleeping again.

This effect is even more pronounced in the elderly, who often have problems resting at night. An older person who has a drink before bedtime may have even more problems catching 40 winks.

What about having a drink during "happy hour," or with dinner? Even though the alcohol itself is no longer present in the body, the effects linger, causing restless sleep in those early morning hours, especially among women.

Avoid Alcohol If You Have Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea often have trouble sleeping through the night. These people will stop breathing for a few seconds, usually because the throat closes while they're asleep. This can happen hundreds of times in a single night. Even if the victim doesn't wake up all the way, the apnea episodes definitely interrupt a good night's rest.

Drinking alcohol often makes sleep apnea even worse. Alcohol can cause apnea episodes even in people who don't normally suffer from it.

Pregnant And Nursing Mothers Should Avoid Alcohol Too

You'd have to be living in a cave if you haven't heard about the effects of alcohol on unborn babies. But some people aren't aware that alcohol goes into the breast milk of nursing mothers, too.

Babies of mamas who have as little as one drink a day may fall asleep a little faster, but they have trouble staying that way, and even wake up sooner. It's not known how long these effects can last, as the child grows older. The best advice: don't drink while pregnant or nursing.

Do you have difficulty sleeping all night? Then it's probably best to avoid alcohol completely.

Author's Bio: 

Want to take charge of your own health, but don't know where to begin? Start with a visit to Natural Health And Wellness Tips, where Darlene Norris shares the latest buzz on natural health. Darlene is a mom and grandma who has been using natural remedies for many years to keep her family healthy and happy.

Read articles on health and healing, sign up for a natural remedies newletter, and download ebooks filled with herbal cures. Shoot Darlene an email with your natural health questions, and let her know what YOU want her to write about next! Don't wait, visit now to get started.