The quality and quantity of sleep you get every night directly impacts your health, mood, and brain performance – that’s why getting a good night’s sleep is so important!
A good night’s sleep is not just about logging enough hours of sleep every night, but also about sleep quality, which includes time spent in deep sleep. I started to think more about sleep and its importance about a year ago when I was noticing low energy levels following a poor night of sleep. Using my Apple watch and the Auto Sleep app to track my sleep for the next few months, I noticed a clear correlation between the quality of sleep I was getting and my alcohol consumption. It’s worth noting that I would not consider myself a big drinker – I typically would have a glass of wine or a beer a couple of times a week. Even still, I noticed a significant decrease in my deep sleep even after just one glass of wine. I think there’s often a misconception that only excessive alcohol consumption has a significant impact on sleep quality, but even just a drink or two a week has an effect. I’d obviously read articles and listened to podcasts on the topic, but actually seeing the data on how drinking affected my sleep was a big eye-opener for me.
I’m 69 and at this stage of my life, I value sleep way more than the short-term pleasures of drinking. So, I decided to completely eliminate alcohol. Since this change, I estimate that my overall sleep is about one hour longer, and my deep sleep is two to three hours longer. I’ve also noticed that my energy is super high! I’d like to note: I don’t judge people who choose to drink. I’ve just personally been enjoying my life more without alcohol.
Luckily, this lifestyle change hasn’t been that hard with so many delicious mocktails and non-alcoholic beer varieties available. Bartenders are typically excited and willing to create a non-alcoholic alternative for you. I was even able to find some great non-alcoholic beers while hiking the Alpe Adria Trail through Austria, Slovenia, and Italy.
Although a variety of things contributed to my decision to eliminate alcohol, listening to an episode of the Huberman Lab podcast – What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain, and Health – really cemented my decision. Dr. Andrew Huberman is incredibly smart, and during this episode, he shares compelling scientific data and information about how alcohol impacts our health that extends far beyond just sleep. I have listened to it a couple of times and really enjoyed it – I hope that you do too.