Q: Why does wine make me feel tired?—Jared, New York
A: Studies have shown that alcohol consumption before bed reduces sleep latency, or the amount of time it takes you to go from being fully awake to sleeping. This can be attributed to alcohol's sedative effects, which range in intensity depending on one's blood-alcohol content (BAC). When it comes to wine consumption specifically, one study even found that several wine grapes are rich in melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. But experts warn that drinking before bed leads to less rest overall.
"Alcohol in general can lead to a shorter time to fall asleep initially, but it fragments sleep the second half of the night leading to a less restful sleep overall," Dr. Meena Khan, a sleep medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Wine Spectator. "Alcohol can affect this normal transition with less REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep and more stage one or two sleep that is not as deep and restful."
How do you get around this? According to Stanford University sleep specialist Dr. Rafael Pelayo, the best advice is to give yourself an hour per drink before you get into bed. In other words, it's best to go to sleep sober.
Consult your personal physician before incorporating wine as part of a healthy sleep plan.—Shawn Zylberberg