Ask Tzivia: Drinking and Dreaming

October 6th, 2015 by

Drinking and Dreaming…do they mix?



Dear Tzivia,

I like to have a glass or two of red wine in the evenings, but I’ve heard that alcohol can affect your dreams. Is that true?


Malbec for Me


Dear Malbec,

In a word, yes. Drinking wine before bed is likely to affect your dreams. But is this good or bad, and should you change your drinking habits because of it? I’ll leave that decision up to you.

Drinking a glass of  wine at night may relax you and help you fall asleep, but it negatively impacts the quality of sleep overall by causing you to wake in the middle of the night and have trouble returning to sleep.

This is problematic in terms of getting a full and deep night’s rest, but it can also negatively impact your dream life. Here’s why:

During the course of the night we move through various sleep cycles, one of which is the REM cycle during which most vivid dreams take place. The early sleep cycles, during which time the wine is affecting you most, are the ones with the shortest REM cycles. If you you wake in the middle of the night, you might miss the later dreamy REM cycles which are longer and produce more vivid dreams. So, that glass of red may allow you to sleep well during the briefer dream cycles, but it will leave you to toss and turn, awake in bed, when you could have been enjoying some long, luscious REM cycles.

As always, I encourage you to be your own sleep scientist. Take note of your own experience with drinking and dreaming – but always dream safe! Less is more when it comes to alcohol. And anyway, isn’t dreaming itself is all the buzz you need?

Cheers to you Malbec… and may you dream & be well.


PS Here are some helpful hints when it comes to drinking and dreaming:

  1. To avoid alcohol’s negative affects on sleep, enjoy your glass of wine at least three hours before bedtime. That will allow the wine to metabolize and work its way through your system before you snooze.
  2. Don’t overdo it! Drink a glass of water for every glass of wine you imbibe. That will slow down  your alcohol consumption and keep you hydrated.
  3. If you are drinking wine to unwind before bed, find other non-alcoholic ways to slow down and sooth your tensions. Try taking a warm bath, meditate, or read a good book before you hit the hay.

Tzivia Gover, Certified Dream Therapist, author, and educator.

Join Tzivia for a dream workshop series at CLINIC beginning Weds. evening Sept. 30.


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