Is Alcohol Keeping You Awake or Blacking You Out?

Good Saturday

What a stunning morning it is here on the Gold Coast.  How tragic would it be if you were battling the ''boohoos" from a big night out and couldn't face the light of day to enjoy it?  As humans we aren't all that smart when it comes to alcohol ingestion - we seem to forget that it hurt the last time we tied one on but will go back for another in the name of celebration or commiseration.  Alcohol is the only legal drug where one can get peer pressured when they choose not to drink it among their friends.  It affects parts of the brain that drives you memory, your speech, your motor skills and of course your liver as it processes the by-products of alcohol metabolism - which is actually the component that does most of the damage.

Although I am not a tee-totaller - I do enjoy a glass of the Tamburlaine Sauvignon Blanc with a meal and friends, I certainly do not drink every day and when I am in a lowered mood state.  It is then that alcohol will have more inflammatory affects as it mixes with stress hormones - not a good combination.  I am a big fan of regular AFD (alcohol free days) and in supporting your liver in processing alcohol with herbal medicine preparations (in tablet and not on an alcohol tincture) - even if you only have a little quantity.

You can't predict that this will happen every time you consume alcohol but as the night wears on after you stop drinking, your body may or may not handle the processing very well, and often (I find this happens to me) even after 1 glass of wine, your body could be waking or experiencing a light/flighty sleep in the wee hours of the morning due to drops in your blood sugar and dehydration from alcohol ingestion and processing.

Women tend to process  alcohol less effectively than men, and are more prone to black outs or complete memory lapses.  This is of course not a good sign and must be taken seriously as it can be an early indicator of brain damage or decline leading to more serious health concerns later on.

Of all the nutrients alcohol robs the body of, the B vitamins is the most affected - especially B1 (thiamine). Due to the loss of B Vitamins, processing of sleep hormones is often altered and although an alcohol fuelled sleep may see you dropping from consciousness to deep sleep initially, its the ability to stay asleep and enter REM sleep cycles that is hampered by a few drinks in some.  Circadian rhythm interruptions are common with alcohol ingestion and the Chinese medicine theories say the liver 'wakes up' between 1 and 3 am to process toxins - funnily enough a common time to wake from a ethanol induced sleep.

Alcohol can also block your breathing which is one of the reasons I suggest to sleep apnoea patients to seriously reconsider alcohol as part of their lifestyle.  They don't like me saying that, but it is a key factor in many sleep apnoea patient lifestyles.

Finally as alcohol acts as a diuretic and has to be excreted through your kidneys, a frequent bathroom stop may be required a few times to set the balance straight again.

My tip - if you are going to drink heavily over the festive season and into 2018 - support your brain and liver with herbs, B Vitamins and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.