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The Effects Of Drinking Alcohol On Snoring And Sleep Apnea

Are you having difficulty feeling focused and rested? Do you ever get complaints regarding snoring from your partner? If yes, probably you are suffering from sleep apnea.

Statistics tell the story, according to the National Sleep Foundation; an estimated 40 million people in America alone have some kind of sleep disorder. Over 18 million of those people, especially, suffer from Sleep Apnea. In this article, I will talk about the effects and the connection between alcohol and snoring.

This subject is important to me because I want to educate you about the potential health risks of snoring and Sleep Apnea and steps to take to insulate yourself from becoming a snoring and Sleep Apnea statistic.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a prevalent disorder that involves pauses in breathing, shallow breath or a total seizure of breathing for long durations during sleep. Pauses in breathing might last 10 seconds or go up to a minute hence can repeatedly disrupt your natural sleeping patterns all through the night. Normal breathing naturally resumes with a loud snoring or choking sound which can be devastating.

Why Do You Stop Breathing?

According to veritable research, 2 things explain the reason you pause in breathing while sleeping:

Obstructed Sleep Apnea (OSA) – is the prevalent form consisting of 80% of all sleep apnea statistics. Obstructed sleep apnea is instigated by a blockage of the airways. On numerous occasions, snoring will occur as air forces its way past the blockage.

Central Sleep Apnea – Is a less prevalent form of sleep apnea and results when the brain is unable to communicate accurately with respiratory muscles. In central sleep apnea, the brain fails to signal the body to breathe.

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive.

The Connection Between Drinking Alcohol and Snoring

The connection between alcohol and snoring is a close one. Consumption of alcohol provokes sleep apnea resulting to heavy snoring after drinking. When you consume alcohol, intoxications naturally start within the first 10 to 25 minutes. The liver is responsible for intoxication by extracting alcohol from your blood stream. After the alcohol extraction, it takes about 14 hours for your muscle and brain functions to be back to normal.

Couple drinking red wine

When you consume alcohol, it goes through the digestive system into the bloodstream and finally finds its way into the brain. In the brain, alcohol acts as a relaxant. This partly is due to the fact that alcohol exemplifies a substance called Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA) that occurs naturally in the human brain. GABA is an amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, inhibiting nerve transmission in the brain and hence quieting nervous activity.

GABA functions by calming and getting rid of anxiety and so the brain mistakes alcohol with GABA, which serves to beef up GABA’s calming effect on the body and mind and this only grows bolder as you consume more alcohol. The calming effect has the power to relax all the body muscles including muscles at the back of the throat and in the mouth. These very muscles are the ones responsible for the noises emanating from snoring after heavy drinking.

What About Alcohol and Sleep Apnea?

Even without a diagnosis, there is a significant relationship between alcohol and Sleep Apnea. Medical studies indicate that heavy or modest alcohol consumption can cause series of Obstructed Sleep Apnea (OSA) in individuals that don’t even exhibit it. To add to that, if you already have an alcohol related disorder, you are at a higher risk of developing obstructed sleep apnea, more so if you are a snorer.

For those that have already succumbed to obstructed sleep apnea, the repercussions of sleep apnea become a lot more compounded when taking alcohol because alcohol often lengthens the period between when you seize breathing and wake up to take a breath again. In a nutshell, it makes the obstructed sleep apnea condition worse.

How to Minimize Snoring When Using Alcohol?

No alcohol sign

So by now you know the repercussions of alcohol and snoring and eager to discover how to stop it. Well, the only natural way to outsmart the connection between alcohol and snoring is to abstain from drinking especially before bedtime. However, for many individuals, quitting this habit can be an insurmountable challenge.

If you’re unable to stay away from alcohol, then there are few aspects you can indulge in to mitigate the negative effects of alcohol and snoring. One significant step is to make it habitual to eat before and during the course of drinking. This habit will cut back the quantity of alcohol absorbed by your body hence reducing its overall effect.

However, for many individuals, quitting this habit can be an insurmountable challenge. If you’re unable to stay away from alcohol, then there are few aspects you can indulge in to mitigate the negative effects of alcohol and snoring. One significant step is to make it a habitual to eat before and during the course of drinking. This habit will cut back the quantity of alcohol absorbed by your body hence reducing its overall effect.

Another step and probably the best remedy on how to stop snoring after drinking alcohol is to drink beverages that have zero or lower alcoholic contents routinely. This essentially means you have to stay away from spirits and other hard liquors. Wine is usually an appropriate option, but there is a chemical compound in red wine called tyrosine that many individuals are allergic.

Tyrosine is also present in most cheeses so you must take care when mixing them. If you still experience the heavy snoring with your wine, the time is right to change your brand and start drinking beer. The solutions provided might not necessarily eliminate your snoring problem related to alcohol, but will at least minimize the degree of snoring and offer a better night sleep experience for you and your loved ones.

Bottle of red wine, cheese and grapes

Tyrosine is also present in most cheeses so you must take care when mixing them. If you still experience the heavy snoring with your wine, the time is right to change your brand and start drinking beer. The solutions provided will not necessarily eliminate your snoring problem related to alcohol, but will at least minimize the degree of snoring and offer a better night sleep experience for you and your loved ones.

Irregular Breathing Impact on Your Sleep Quality

It’s noteworthy to appreciate that irregular breathing patterns negatively impact your sleep quality and consequently the correct functioning of a healthy system. When shallow or pause of breathing occurs, the individual is shoved from deep sleep into light sleep, effectively losing out on the regenerative benefits that come along with deep sleep. In fact, the body is now subjected to harmful effects that come along with sleep deprivation including Sleep Apnea.

If sleep apnea is not treated, it may result in the fall in blood oxygen levels which might cause high blood pressure and other known cardiovascular diseases. Memory loss and weight gain are also some of the effects of sleep deprivation and poor health. Manifest signs of disruptive sleeping patterns may include lethargy, sleeping at the wheel, reduced quality in personal output and daytime routines.

Ensure to do the following to prevent risks of sleep apnea:

• Maintain good health and diet
• Proper exercises
• Avoid alcohol before bedtime
• Visit your physician in case there is a deviation from the norm in your body system.

Adhering to these factors on a daily basis will go a long way towards ensuring your body is performing at its best and preventing deadly diseases.

Before you go – I have found this related infographic at Unity Point Health about the effect of alcohol on your body. 

Effects of alcohol on your body!

About the Author Robert J. Hudson

Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!

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