For some of you, giving up alcohol may actually be a not-so-small price to pay for an effective sleep aid, but I can certainly attest to the quality of sleep I’ve experienced after cutting alcohol from my routine.
For the skeptical, I’ll prove my point.
On Memorial Day, we hosted a barbeque. For the first time in ages, I indulged in two glasses of red wine—this was only the fourth or fifth time since February that I’ve had a drink! Of course, all manner of revelry was present with the merriment of wine pushing through my veins, so I was much bolder with the smorgasbord of food choices than I might have been while sober.
After fluttering around the barbeque nibbling on everything in sight, I finally crossed the line when I downed the better half of a “party size” bag of Smartfood popcorn. Yes, all by myself—that’s how I know that this red wine had gotten the better of me.
However, it wasn’t just an insatiable appetite that the wine gifted me that evening—my sleep suffered, too. The next morning, I woke up to this distressing report:
Throughout the night, my heart rate was nearly 15 points higher than my nightly average, my REM and deep sleep scores tanked, and it took the better part of the night to achieve my lowest resting heart rate (just in time to wake up).
If this had been a scientific experiment, I might say that overeating was a confounding factor in my experimental method and that there’s no way for sure that I could know whether or not this poor night’s rest was caused by the booze or the food. However, past experience tells me that this always happens when I drink.
In my mind, there’s no doubt about it—this was all the wine’s fault, and I’m convinced that it could have been much worse. Despite my wine and my feast, I did make it to bed at a reasonable hour, and I was conscientious enough to remain well hydrated. Had I not taken these precautions, who knows what additional havoc that wine would have wrought on my sleep?
My aforementioned past experiences with losing sleep to alcohol had me instantly hooked when I stumbled upon the cheeky, noncommittal Sober Curious, its subtitle promising better sleep (among other things) as a result of sobriety.
The book echoes the same energy as a popular wellness revolution in which individuals are simply choosing not to drink. These people aren’t alcoholics—they just want to lessen their alcohol intake. In her book, Ruby Warrington creates a paradigm shift in which it’s cool to choose sparkling water and lime over a mojito. As Bustle puts it:
I know a lot about sleep, and the sad truth which I’ve come to accept is that consuming alcohol, while socially acceptable, is one of the things most capable of disrupting sleep. Because I’m committed to having the best sleep of my life as consistently as possible, I appreciated Warrington’s ability to paint a picture of an incredibly exciting and dynamic life that is (largely) hangover-free!
Again, the beauty of the sober curious movement is that there’s no commitment required. Sure, you can still grab a cocktail on ladies’ night or down a couple glasses of wine at the next neighborhood barbeque, but don’t expect your body to reward you with a peaceful sleep afterward.
If I haven’t lost you completely, I’ve listed some resources you may want to further explore if you’re searching for a natural remedy for better sleep and feeling, well, “sober curious.”
For those of you still sticking around, check out:
Whether you’re on the hunt for relief from insomnia or just aiming to achieve a life more dedicated to wellness, these resources are going to change the way you think about alcohol (and maybe help you reevaluate your current sleep help strategies, too).
The Sleep Reset
A 45-Day Online Experience Designed to Change the Way You Sleep Forever. Become the Best Sleeper You Know.