I don’t mean to preach, and lord knows I have had my fair share of one too many, but we need to talk about alcohol. Recent comprehensive studies have indicated that there is no amount of alcohol that is actually good for you.
While it may seem like a quick fix for dealing with stress and anxiety, knocking yourself out with a couple drinks actually leads to lower quality sleep and disrupted sleep patterns.
In regards to anxiety and depression, alcohol has been shown to make these conditions worse over time. To make matters worse, alcohol can be highly addictive and habit forming. Yikes.
If you find it difficult to unwind and relax before bed, there are certainly alternatives. Here are three things that you can do to establish a better sleep ritual.
Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Set a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Engage in relaxing activities before bed, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing deep breathing exercises. Avoid stimulating activities, bright screens, and electronic devices that can interfere with your sleep.
Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
Make your bedroom a tranquil and comfortable space, conducive to sleep. Keep the room cool, quiet, and dark by using blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine if necessary.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Engage in relaxation techniques like meditation, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation to calm your mind and body. Consider incorporating gentle stretching or yoga poses specifically designed for relaxation and better sleep. Limit or avoid eating heavy meals or snacks too close to bedtime to prevent discomfort.
If you still need some help relaxing, falling asleep and staying asleep, consider CBD as an alternative to alcohol. It’s natural, non-addictive and studies have shown it is effective for both relaxation and sleep for many people.
While alcohol may seem like a quick fix for pain, stress, and insomnia, it's ultimately more harmful than helpful. Establishing sleep rituals and occasionally using CBD may be a better option for you as it has been for me and many of my patients.