Is it ok for a person to drink a glass of wine at night to help them fall asleep better?

This question was asked in Santa Paula, California on 07/24/2012.
I cannot sleep well at night. I drink a glass of wine to help relax myself before going to bed. Is this ok?

Doctors Answers (5)

Farhad Sigari, MD, FACS
Answered on: 7/27/2012

Yes, but only if you don't have sleep apnea. If you do have sleep apnea, even one glass can relax the muscles in your throat and worsen your sleep apnea.

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 7/27/2012

It's not a good idea to use alcohol in any form as a sedative or for sleeping. Although it will help you fall asleep it will fragment your sleep later on in the night. If you have trouble falling asleep then you should try Melatonin 45-60 minutes before bed. If you have trouble maintaining sleep or frequent early morning arousals then you should see a sleep specialist to inquire about insomnia.

Gary K. Zammit, Ph.D.
Answered on: 7/25/2012

Having a glass of wine before bed certainly is okay. If you enjoy that glass, and find it relaxing, it is okay. Many practitioners now extoll the health benefits of moderate amounts of wine. However, if you are using wine, as you suggest, to help fall asleep, you should be aware that there are other appropriate methods you can use. Behavioral treatments, prescription sleep aids, and combinations of the two are safe and effective. These may be better choices than wine. Even though alcohol has sedative properties, it can disturb your sleep and actually contribute to a worsening of sleep problems.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 7/25/2012

Personally. I think that if you are already drinking a glass of wine to assist your falling asleep and you are sleeping well and feel good during the day, I see no problem. It is akin to those persons who take a tranquilizer at bedtime. Both have mild sedative effect but more important, they block out the mind from racing from one thought to the next. Beware, don't increase the amount of wine and try to drink less or none off and on. FYI: many over the counter agents, NyQuil, for example, are 25% or 50 proof alcohol.

Syed Nabi, M.D.
Answered on: 7/25/2012

Alcohol makes sleep apnea worse. It is the most commonly used substance to help fall asleep, but half way through the night causes withdrawals and disrupts sleep architecture. Not a good idea to drink closer to bedtime.