While it might be tempting to grab that cocktail or glass of wine to take the edge off after a long day, it can end up quickly having the opposite effect.
“Alcohol is a nervous system depressant, but it can actually cause anxiousness and low moods rather than improve them, despite the initial perceived stress relief,” says Dani Gordon, M.D., a U.K.-based double board-certified medical doctor and author of The CBD Bible.
On a microscopic level, alcohol consumption stimulates the release of the stress hormone cortisol. “Essentially, booze is able to activate the nerves and elicit a fight-or-flight response which is the exact opposite of being calm and relaxed,” explains Rose.
And while it’s true that drinking alcohol before bed can make you feel sleepy, it won’t give you those restorative zzz’s that we all need to feel our best.
Harry elaborates: “Alcohol acts on the GABA receptors (these are neurotransmitters our bodies naturally release to help us relax) and initially produces a sense of calm, but studies and experience point to the fact that alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to less refreshing sleep and frequent awakening during the night."
Moral of the story: While drinking alcohol can help ease nerves in the moment, it won't do you any favors for long-term stress management and resilience building.