Other things that may help our sleep - not just same time to bed and same time to wake, but that will definitely be helpful - are substances that may affect our sleep such as alcohol. I love a good glass of wine and I have nothing against drinking, but it does have an effect on sleep. We all know initially if we have a glass of wine, we might feel a little more relaxed, a second one and we're maybe a little more sleepy. The third one might even promote sleep and also disinhibit us enough that we think we're a good dancer if we're not, but enough alcohol (if you drink it fast enough) will really bring us down. It's a central nervous system depressant. So unfortunately every year, kids on college campuses may actually drink too much, have alcohol poisoning, go into a coma and die. So that's the actual effect of alcohol if they can't clean it up fast enough. But the initial effect is that down. But what happens pretty quickly, (because alcohol has a pretty short half life - we clean it up relatively quickly) is that the body wants to be here in the middle. Alcohol brings us down and then the body brings us up too high. So if your me and you have a glass of wine, I probably won't feel it. A second glass - I know it's there. The third would be too much. I'm just not used to it. So even though I enjoy that third glass of a heavy red cab, it's going to affect me. And I know two sleep cycles in, three hours into my night, I'll wake up in the middle of the night having a hot sweat, feeling thirsty, looking at the digital clock being flushed and awake for 20-30-40 minutes. For me, I've a very exaggerated response to too much alcohol. But for most people that alcohol withdrawal (which is exactly what it is) simply makes for a restless night. It also suppresses dreaming. So the first half of the night, the dreams are suppressed. The second half, they're rebound, so they're much more. So not only is the night restless, but it may be filled with vivid dreams into the morning. So my rules of thumb for alcohol are: less is more, earlier is better (it gives you more time to detoxify that alcohol) and of course with food is better because it'll absorb more slowly and it won't hit you as hard.
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