Drinking Alcohol Can Worsen Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. A noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. When you drink alcohol the muscle tone in the upper airway decreases. So this can be worse for people who stop breathing due to OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea because they tend to stop breathing more frequently and for longer periods of time, according to Dr. Reena Mehra, a sleep-disorder specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.
The reduced muscle tone from even a couple of drinks also aggravates less serious, but more familiar, problems. “It worsens snoring,” says Mehra. “I can attest to that with my husband.”
Additional sleep issues associated with drinking alcohol can include interruption of REM sleep which is vital to concentration and memory, reactions with sleep aid medications both prescription and natural, and triggering of acid reflux.
The bottom line is if you are going to go out for a drink at night, try to exercise moderation, especially if you are already suffering from sleep issue such as snoring and apnea. If you know that you need to be alert and have a big day ahead of you the next day, then maybe skip the drinks or limit it to just one.