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How to Improve Your Sleep After Days of Drinking in 7 Easy Steps

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Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

Featured image for How to Improve Your Sleep after drinking

1 April 2024 3 min read

“How to improve your sleep after days of drinking?” – that's a question many ask themselves during the holidays, and today we're coming to you with some answers!

Drinking alcohol has become so ingrained in most cultures, that staying completely sober might seem impossible to some. And while a few drinks here and there aren't likely to cause any serious damage, alcohol affects your sleep quality rather severely.

Sure, a drink may initially help you fall asleep, but do it too often and your sleep cycle is going to suffer the consequences. And not getting enough deep sleep also means that you'll feel tired and sluggish throughout the day.

And if you really overdo it, you might even develop chronic sleep disorders. So, for your own sake, let's talk about how to improve your sleep quality after a few drinks.

Where to start?

When it comes to alcohol and sleep, everyone is different. So, we can't guarantee that these tips will work for everyone, but they should give you a rough idea of what you should look out for.

Step 1: Cut down on alcohol

An image of a person holding a glass of alcohol

This tip is the most obvious one of the bunch but also the one that needs to be said the loudest. It's very easy to turn to the bottle in order to knock yourself out but that's far from a fireproof plan.

For one, just because you're lying in bed doesn't mean you're getting quality REM sleep. So, odds are that you'll still feel rather tired. Plus, if you rely on alcohol whenever you have trouble sleeping, it can become impossible to sleep without it.

So, step one is to cut down and practice moderate drinking. While you sleep, alcohol is processed in your body, so do your best not to overwhelm it. You don't have to go cold turkey straight off the bat, but at least cut it down to where the bedroom isn't spinning and falling asleep feels natural and effortless.

Step 2: Develop a bedtime routine (without alcohol)

An image of a woman waking up from sleep and drinking tea as part of her morning routine

Having a consistent bedtime routine is one of the best ways to maintain a normal sleep cycle and get a good night's sleep every night. So, do your best to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day – yes, even on the weekends.

This way your body will naturally get sleepy when it comes time to doze off, eliminating the need for alcohol consumption in the first place. Plus, a consistent schedule will make sleep disruptions less likely.

Besides just when you go to bed, you can add other factors into your routine. It could be anything from drinking a glass of warm milk right before bed to doing yoga first thing in the morning. Just stay consistent and your sleep hygiene will shine in no time!

Step 3: Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks

An image of a cup of coffee

If you've been doing some heavy drinking, you might feel groggy and tired during the day. However, don't fall into the trap of thinking that coffee is going to solve all your issues – especially in the evening.

After all, caffeine will only make it harder to fall asleep at night. And that means an even shorter sleep duration and even more grogginess in the morning. It's a never-ending cycle!

So, even if you had as much alcohol as your body can handle, stick to only drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks in the morning. And you'll see, the second the quality of your sleep goes back to normal, you'll be going out like a light come bedtime.

Step 4: Improve your sleep environment

An image of a bedroom that represents a good sleep environment

Even if you're completely sober and with zero coffee in your system, a bad sleep environment can lead to issues. And if you've just had a night of drinking, it's even more important.

To start, make sure that your mattress is comfortable and in decent shape. The last thing you'd want is to wake up with phantom bruises because you slept funny on your old lumpy mattress. And if you'd like to buy a new one, here's our best mattress UK recommendation list.

Also, make sure that your room is nice and dark, as you don't want bright lights messing up your circadian rhythm and making sleep even harder. So, if you can, get some black-out curtains to keep things nice and dark.

Lastly, make sure that your bedroom isn't too hot or too cold – as that too can prolong the time it takes for you to fall asleep. And if you want to know more about the ideal temperature for sleep, just read our article on the topic.

Step 5: Fight off stress & anxiety

An image of a woman holding the back of her neck due to anxiety and stress

When it comes to alcohol, sometimes it mellows you out completely and other times it turns you into a crying mess. And since mental health can strongly influence how quickly you fall asleep, we want to avoid that second scenario.

So, before you go to bed, try calming yourself down completely. You can do some stretches, meditate, or have a relaxing shower (as long as it's not too hot). And if you're a bit too tipsy for any of that, even just throwing on a weighted blanket can help calm you down.

This is because of something known as Deep Touch Pressure therapy, and it might just be the easy solution you were looking for. So, if you're interested, here are some of the weighted blankets we recommend.

Step 6: Develop a balanced meal plan

An image of different fruits and vegetables that would make up a balanced meal plan

Yes, even your meal plan will need some tweaks in order for your sleep quality to go back to normal. And a good meal plan can benefit you in two major ways.

First off, knowing how to eat can make the drinking itself less taxing on your body. For example, food like salmon or yoghurt can slow down alcohol absorption and make it less likely that you get hammered. Not to mention that the right diet can also lessen your hangover.

Secondly, eating the right food can make falling asleep a lot faster and lessen the chances of you waking up in the middle of the night. But on the other hand, some food can make an already tough fight even worse by keeping you awake for hours.

So, if you want to know what food helps you sleep, and what you should avoid at all costs come bedtime, we have an article just for you!

Step 7: Stay hydrated at all times

An image of a person pouring water into a cup

Regardless of how many beers you gulp down, nothing can ever substitute water. So, before, during, and after a wild night out – make sure to get in plenty of water.

This will help you in a number of ways. For one, it will stop you from overdrinking since you won't reach for the tequila every time your mouth is dry. Two, it will make you less likely to overeat as your stomach will feel full after a tall glass of water.

Three, it helps out flush out all the toxins that have accumulated in your body from all the drinking. And four, properly hydrating your body will make you feel more energised and at ease. So, as you can see, it's an overall win.

Conclusion

Most people like to get a drink from time to time. And as long as you drink in moderation and keep our tips in mind, you can even get away with a fun night out while also not ruining your sleep quality at home.

So, drink a lot of water, optimise your sleeping environment, and have a blast! And hopefully, this will improve your sleep quality even after the wildest of parties.

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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