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Rich Interconnectedness Between Alcohol and Sleep!

Have you ever wondered why some patients’ sleep is affected strongly by alcohol, while others isn’t? The interconnectedness between alcohol and poor sleep is a rich, important topic. Check out this clinical tip video for some “devil in the detail” that might surprise you!

  • A couple of drinks helps with falling asleep but leaves you waking up 2-3 hours later?
  • Even after a full meal, alcohol brings on big cravings for “bar food”?
  • If I’m so relaxed from a few drinks, how is cortisol involved in the crappy night of sleep that follows?
  • Regular drinkers’ pesky leg cramps and tight muscles need more than magnesium. Do you know what’s missing?
  • And much more!

If you missed my hour-long video on Sleep Myths and Truths for Practitioners, you may catch the recording here.

If you want a deeper dive after the video, some of these research references may be of interest and help:

  • If you want a geek dive into this topic overall, this is a great resource (link).
  • Regular moderate-to-heavy drinking increases cortisol in men and women (link). Heavy alcohol use, whether one-time or chronic, increases cortisol levels – and may be related more to the toxicity of acetaldehyde metabolites from alcohol and our varying ability to process/excrete it (link and link).
  • Excessive intake of food (which can cause impaired sleep) following alcohol consumption is caused by hyperactivity of hypothalamic Agrp neurons (link).
  • Noctural leg cramps and alcohol consumption (link and this clinical tip).
  • Alcohol and GABA rebound and poor sleep (clinical tip).
  • Dose-dependent impact on REM sleep (link).

I appreciate the opportunity to support your learning on these key topics!






P.S. If you know that healthcare must be transformed to be sustainable and effective, and you believe strongly that Functional Medicine is key to making that happen, we urge you to learn about our semester program.

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