Drinking Before going to Bed Effect the Brain’s Memory Function

Many people believe that wine can help them fall asleep easier, and even sleep all night. But these two situations are completely absent.

The classification of alcohol in medicine is a sedative. It binds to receptors in the brain and prevents neurons from sending electrical impulses. The statement that alcohol is a sedative is often confusing, because moderate drinking can help us communicate with people. Why do sedatives make you more active? This is because the alcohol in the early stage of the action will calm the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

The frontal lobe of the human brain helps us to restrain impulses and control behavior. Alcohol first reduced the function of this part of the brain, so we began to “open our minds”, became less self-made, and became more outgoing.

Despite this, alcohol is still a sedative for specific areas of the brain. If you let the alcohol work longer, it will start to calm the other brain areas, so that these brain areas and the prefrontal cortex are in the same state. As the drunken numbness starts, you start to become dull. This is the effect of the brain being calmed down.

Your desire to maintain consciousness and your ability to decline are easy to lose consciousness. I deliberately avoided using the word “sleeping” because calm is not equal to sleep. The calming effect of alcohol makes you not awake, but does not cause natural sleep. Alcohol brings you into a state of mind that is different from the brainwaves of natural sleep, but rather closer to a slight anesthesia.

How alcohol destroys sleep
But this is not the worst impact of nighttime sleep on sleep. In addition to the artificial sedative effect, alcohol also destroys sleep in two other ways.

The first is the fragmentation of sleep, which makes people wake up several times at night. The sleep after drinking is not continuous, so there is no repair effect. Unfortunately, the parties usually don’t remember that they woke up, so these interruptions were ignored. So people can’t connect the exhaustion of the night before drinking and sleep disturbances. You can pay attention to this kind of connection between yourself and others.

Second, alcohol is one of the most potent substances we know to inhibit rapid eye movement sleep. When the body metabolizes alcohol, the by-products produced are aldehydes and ketones. The aldehydes can hinder the brain from producing rapid eye movement sleep. The situation is similar to the heartbeat stop that occurs in the brain, preventing the pulsation of dreaming brain waves. Even drinking only a small amount of wine in the afternoon or evening is enough to deprive you of the dreaming stage of sleep.

This fact can be extremely and sadly proven in alcoholics. After drinking, they produce almost no identifiable rapid eye movement sleep. Because of the accumulation of dreamless sleep, the pressure on the demand for rapid eye movement sleep has increased dramatically, and this pressure is so great that it causes terrible results in these people: when they are awake, they will be forcibly invaded by dreams.

Due to the long-repressed rapid eye movement sleep outbreak, intrusion into the conscious consciousness, causing hallucinations, delusions, severe orientation disorder. This kind of awkward mental abnormality is called “tremor.”

If people with alcoholism are alcohol-suppressed and stop drinking, the brain will start to produce a lot of rapid eye movement sleep, such as gluttony, desperately trying to retrieve the rapid eye movement sleep that has long been lacking. This effect is called rapid eye movement sleep rebound. We observe the same effect on another person with strong rapid eye movement sleep pressure, those who try to break through the world record of not sleeping for a long time .

Drinking before going to bed will affect learning outcomes
However, one study has confirmed that you do not have to drink alcohol to the extent that you are suffering from the harmful effects of rapid eye movement sleep disturbances. As mentioned earlier, one of the functions of rapid eye movement sleep is to help integrate and link memory: that is, when the grammar rules are developed when learning a new language, or when a large number of related facts are combined to form a whole, the required message processing method is needed. .

The study convened a large group of college students for a seven-day experiment and assigned them to one of three experimental conditions. On the first day, everyone has to learn a new grammar for human creation. It is a bit like learning a new computer programming language, or a new algebra. This form of memory task is enhanced by rapid eye movement sleep. Everyone needs to learn this new material very skillfully on the first day, achieving a correct rate of about 90%.

A week later, they will take a test to see how much information has been consolidated after six nights of sleep intervention. The difference between the three groups lies in the form of sleep that everyone gets.

The first group is the control group, who gets a natural and adequate sleep every night. The second group of people drink and drink a little bit before going to bed that night after study; each person will drink two to three small cups of mixed drink of vodka and orange juice, the actual weight is adjusted according to gender and weight, so that the blood The alcohol in it reaches a certain concentration. The third group received natural sleep on the first night and the second night, and on the third night, they drank before going to bed and drank the same amount of micro-sputum as the second group.

Please note that all three groups are learning the same materials when they are awake, and they are awake on the seventh day of the test. In this way, it is possible to avoid the influence of alcohol during memory formation and final recall, and to ensure the memory difference between the three groups of people, which will be caused by interference in the process of intermediate memory enhancement.

On the seventh day, the control group remembered everything that was originally learned, and even showed a higher level of abstraction and knowledge retention than when learning, which is in line with our expectations for good sleep. In contrast, the performance of people who drank on the first night after study, or permission to be conservatively referred to as “partial amnesia”, they forgot more than 50% of what they had learned. This is also consistent with the evidence we discussed earlier: the brain needs sleep during the first night after study, in order to carry out the memory process, which is not to be compromised.

But what is really surprising is the result of the third group. Although the first two nights after the study had adequate natural sleep, the third night of drinking caused almost the same degree of amnesia, and the knowledge they had built on the first day lost 40%. Quick eye movement sleep night after night absorbs complex memory knowledge, but now it is interfered by alcohol. Even more surprising, perhaps it is learned that the brain does not only deal with that knowledge on the first night after acquiring knowledge. Any sleep disturbances (including interference from alcohol) are dangerous to memory, even to the third night after learning new knowledge, even though the first two nights have been getting a natural night’s sleep.

In life, suppose you have an exam next Monday, and you are a student who is trying to prepare for the exam. You worked hard on Wednesday, and a friend went to drink alcohol that night, but you refused because you knew the importance of sleep. On Thursday, my friend invited you to go out for a few drinks at night. You refused to make sure you learned the results, and you slept on the second night.

Finally, Friday is coming, it is the third night after you work hard, and everyone goes out to run and drink. So you think that since the first two nights have been well-prepared, the memory should be fully processed and stored safely in your memory. Now you can relax.

It is a pity that things are not as good as they wish. Even at this time, alcohol will destroy the results of your hard work, and wash away many of the knowledge you have learned and abstracted by hindering rapid eye movement sleep. So, how long does it take for new memories to be stored in a safe and secure manner?

To be honest, we don’t know yet, but the ongoing research has pushed the time to weeks. What we are currently determining is that for these newly implanted memories, sleep is not finished until the third night. When I mentioned this discovery in the classroom of the university department, there was a mourning in the audience.

For such a thing, I will give politically incorrect advice (of course I have never said this): If you want to drink, go to the bar in the morning. As a result, alcohol is already metabolized before you fall asleep.

Regardless of this blackmail, what advice do we have for sleep and drinking? It sounds like abstinence, but the evidence that alcohol is harmful to sleep is very strong. If you don’t recommend staying away from alcohol, you will not be able to afford it, and you are sorry for science. Many people like to have a glass of red wine for dinner or even drink after dinner.

But even if you happen to have a fast-acting version of the ethanol-decomposing enzyme, your liver and kidneys will take several hours to break down and expel those alcohols. The best, most honest and most annoying advice I can offer is that drinking at night is a hindrance to sleep.

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Drinking Before going to Bed Effect the Brain's Memory Function - /10


Many people believe that wine can help them fall asleep easier, and even sleep all night. But these two situations are completely absent.

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