Friday, September 22, 2017

How Does Wine Affect Sleep?

Two Life Essentials: Wine and Sleep

How do they mix?

Does wine really promote sleep?

Let's break this down and look at what is involved with sleep and how wine is connected to our nighttime slumber.

First of all, here's a tidbit of anatomy and physiology.

In our brain lies a tiny but powerful little gland called the pineal gland. Its main purpose is to secrete melatonin for the regulation of your sleep pattern. 

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in animals and regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Melatonin is also produced in plants where it functions as the first line of defense against oxidative stress.
Notably, high melatonin concentrations have been measured in popular beverages such as coffee, tea, wine, and beer, and crops including corn, rice, wheat, barley, and oats.(Wikipedia)

With this information, one would assume that having a glass of wine would increase melatonin enough to help you sleep like a baby.
Due to certain grape skins containing higher levels of melatonin, it is reasonable to think that wine improves sleep.
Wine definitely acts as a sedative on our nervous system, one of the main reasons a glass of wine is poured upon walking in the door or at happy hour after a long day at work. 
RELAX is our commonly spoken lingo as if demanding ourselves and those around us to do just that and we know it's easier to do with a glass of vino.

Seem too good to be true? Possibly.
Obviously, there are other factors involved as the hours unfold as one prepares for bed and attempts to get a restful nights sleep.

How many glasses have you had?
Each person has their "sweet spot" for any altering substances, from medications to alcohol. 
Knowing your relaxed buzz state and realizing when you have had your limit is key for allowing wine to help promote your sleep. 
The 2 drink rule is very ideal for most individuals...this allows you to relax and actually sleep very well.

How much water and food have you had?
Feeling that initial sip of wine hit your stomach after a long day can be bittersweet. 
Drinking water along with your wine and staying hydrated all day long can only help your system handle the alcohol to your advantage.
Eating is equally important so you minimize or eliminate any negative effects.

Are there any underlying health conditions?
If you experience uncomfortable symptoms after drinking wine you may have an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed.
Common symptoms for an overtaxed liver are night sweats, restless sleep, irritability, rashy skin, headaches and severe cravings for wine.
Supporting your liver is critical for supporting your body's ability to detox.
Add fresh lemon to your water every day and drink herbal liver teas including green tea. Pay attention to your body so you can drink successfully.

How late are you drinking wine?

The earlier you consume wine in the evening the better chance it will positively affect your sleep.
Drinking wine right up until bed will interfere with your sleep cycles and you will more than likely notice a restless, disturbed sleep...even if it appears deep.
Dialing in what time you need to stop drinking is critical if you want restful, productive sleep.
Let's remember that melatonin is stimulated by darkness and certain red wines, but light and too much alcohol suppress its release. 
An example of this is how you can work a night shift or travel late, your pineal gland is very sensitive and obedient to your habits.
Your lifestyle heavily influences when your pineal can release the sleep-promoting hormone. 
This is clearly why sleep masks and blackout curtains for daytime or restless sleepers can be a fantastic health saving solution.
The screen light on any device (phone, iPad, computer, iPod, etc) also interrupts the pineal gland as well. 

So it makes sense that if you struggle with falling or staying asleep, the combination of sipping wine while you are staring at a screen right before bed is not going to help you.

Are your stress levels mild or severe?

Each happy hour or evening is different...a variety of emotions can be at play anytime. 
It comes down to are you relaxed or stressed? 
Like a grapefruit, when squeezed, what comes out? Grapefruit juice.
When you are squeezed, meaning stressors, what is coming out?
If you are calm at the core, drinking wine will be beneficial.
If your stress levels are severe, be aware that drinking wine or any alcohol can increase your negative moods.

What type of wine are you consuming?

Ever notice that after drinking certain red wines you literally feel like you could go to sleep?
It's because the grape skins of some red wines have a significantly higher concentration of melatonin.
So if you want are consuming wine in the evening to promote sleep, try one of these red wines first.

Here is a list of wines with the highest melatonin content:

Cabernet Sauvignon 
(Cabernet Sauvignon has 75 times more melatonin than Cabernet Franc)
Cabernet Franc

Wine can absolutely affect your sleep.
Now you have some tips on how to dial in your favorite kind to do the trick.

Cheers and Good Night!

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