New Year’s Eve Sleep

By Clinton Marquardt - Sleep & Fatigue Specialist

December 28, 2015

alcohol and sleep, fatigue

Happy New YearIf you plan on celebrating New Year’s Eve, you are probably going to be fatigued on New Year’s Day. The food, drinks and excitement we enjoy on the eve, all mess up our sleep and make the next day a slow one. Eating too much can make you uncomfortable during sleep and if you eat anything chocolate too close to bedtime, your sleep will be disturbed by the caffeine[1]. Excitement is stimulating and that too can disturb your sleep. Then there is the alcohol.  Alcohol has a dramatic effect on sleep, and if you are a teetotaler, as little as one drink close to bedtime can lead to fatigue the next day. If your festivities include a couple of drinks, here is what you can expect:

During the first half of the night, when the alcohol is still partying in your brain:

  • You will fall asleep quickly.
  • Your sleep will be deeper.
  • You won’t spontaneously wake up.
  • You won’t dream.

 

Sounds OK right? But then, during the second half of your sleep, as the alcohol works it way out of your system:

  • Your sleep will lighten.
  • You will wake up spontaneously and frequently.
  • You will find it hard to return to sleep.
  • You will dream a lot more, making it feel like you are not sleeping well.

 

The net result is one night of poor quality sleep that will leave you feeling achey, listless, foggy, slow and fatigued. So what can you do?

First, be nice to yourself and remember that one night of poor sleep isn’t the end of the world. In fact, one night of poor quality sleep can make the first sleep of 2016 a really good one because most people sleep more deeply after one night of poor quality sleep. Here are a few tips to start off your 2016 sleep:

  1. Again, be nice to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up with thoughts like “never again” or “why did I do that?” for one night of indulgence. Enjoy it for what it was and move on.
  2. Plan a relaxing New Year’s Day; cocoon at home if you can.
  3. Get up at a decent time, don’t sleep in too late, this will ensure you fall asleep quickly on the first night of 2016.
  4. Have one coffee or other hit of caffeine as soon as you wake up.
  5. Take 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 to give you some energy and one 325 mg dose of ASA to reduce the discomfort along with the caffeine[2]. Make sure the B12 is not the slow release type because B12 is energizing and can make it hard to fall asleep at night.
  6. Have a healthy breakfast with lots of fruit and water.
  7. Take a relaxing walk outdoors for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Forage all day on ultra healthy food like salads, vegetables and fruit and lots of water.
  9. Don’t drive a car[3], fly a plane, handle a train or pilot a vessel. Remember that when you are fatigued, your reaction time is increased[4] and this can make these tasks unsafe on New Year’s Day.
  10. Make a 2016 New Year’s resolution to improve your sleep by adopting the rules of good sleep hygiene[5].

Here’s to your best year of sleep ever, Happy 2016!

Footnotes

[1] For more info on caffeine and sleep see: http://sleepanddreams.com/?p=129

[2] Talk to your medical doctor before taking B12 and ASA.

[3] See “Drowsy Driving – Drowsy Driving Can be Just as Bad as Driving Drunk!” here: http://sleepanddreams.com/?p=201

[4] For more information on reaction time, see: http://sleepanddreams.com/?p=1860

[5] Sleep hygiene rules: http://sleepanddreams.com/?p=160


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