Those who enjoy alcohol often enjoy a drink in the evening. It is a ritual found across so many cultures. In this piece, we will highlight the health benefits of drinking red wine before bed.
With the recent boom of health-conscious living in the western world, alcohol has been somewhat demonized. The fitness industry has often labeled it ‘empty calories. However, that is quite a narrow view. Yes, wine is caloric, but so are all the foods we consume.
Here are 10 health benefits we found of drinking red wine before bed.
1.Reduce the risk of heart disease
We have all heard the phrase that red wine isn’t harmful ‘in moderation’. What does this actually mean?
Studies have found that drinking red wine can help to retain HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the blood. Having a high density of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The moderation element stems from the fact that this process occurs from people who drink roughly 5oz (150ml) of red wine per day. This equates to roughly 1 glass of red wine before bed.
We consume many foods for their antioxidant contents. It is not commonly advertised that grapes and wine are rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high in your body, such as Hydrogen Peroxide. They’re linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
3. Reduced risk of cancer
Regular and moderate wine consumption is linked with decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer, including colon, basal cell, ovarian, and prostate carcinoma
4. Reduced risk of dementia
There have been many studies into the effect of alcohol on the brain, especially in degenerative diseases.
One study found that, in a study of thousands of people 55 years old and over, moderate wine consumption reduced the risk of dementia. The average amount of alcohol consumed was 0.29 units daily. The group with the least incidence of dementia was the group that consumed 1-3 units daily.
5. Reduced risk of depression
Despite the fact that alcohol is a known depressant, studies have shown it has anti-depressant effects. Scientists have found that drinking 2 to 7 glasses of wine per week is significantly associated with lower rates of depression.
However, depression is the widest spread mental health disorder globally. Alcohol should not be used to combat depression, nor is it a cure.
6. Reduced insulin resistance
If the body becomes too resistant to insulin, we become extremely at risk of diabetes and other serious health conditions. Studies have shown that low doses of red wine (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) can reduce cardiovascular disease.
However, it is not known whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic wine is more effective. We do know that due to the higher sugar content of white wine, red wine is preferable in this instance.
7. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in women
Further to the known reduction of insulin resistance, drinking red wine can also further reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. A study found that former drinkers had a higher risk of diabetes than lifetime abstainers. However, female drinkers were at a lower risk than lifetime abstainers.
8. Aids relaxation
Red wine depresses the central nervous system. This sounds like a hindrance, and it is if we have to do something like drive a car. However, when in a relaxed state, like at home before bed, it is beneficial. It allows the body to calm down after a stressful day, reducing cortisol levels and mellowing anxiety.
9. Helps induce sleep
Wine has sedative properties. This means that it can help induce sleep, and is why it is so common for people to consume before trying to sleep.
This is true for alcohol in general. However, if you consume more than a small serving, alcohol is likely to disrupt sleep. It has been found to prevent REM sleep, which can often result in people waking up feeling fatigued.
10. Looking at other cultures
Across cultures where alcohol isn't taboo, wine is consumed in a moderate and appreciated way. When we look at some European countries, such as France and Italy, there is a good general level of public health.
There is a lower level of heart disease and higher life expectancy in these countries than in the UK and the US. It is likely due to moderated drinking and extracting all the health benefits from the red wine produced there.
Does drinking red wine before bed help you lose weight?
Although it contains calories, as long as you are not eating above your recommended caloric intake for the day, the answer is no. Furthermore, scientists have found that red wine contains resveratrol, which can transform stubborn white fat into burnable brown fat.
What are good wines to drink before bed?
It is not clear if there are specific wines that aid sleep. Every wine is produced in different ways, in a constantly changing process, so it is hard to pin down. However, a heavy, full-bodied red wine like Shiraz is a good red wine to drink before bed.
How long before bed should you drink wine?
Doctors recommend drinking wine 4 hours before bed so that your body can fully metabolize it.
It is clear that drinking alcohol, in general, is talked about with too many broad strokes. We have found that there are many specific health benefits to drinking wine, particularly at the end of the day. However, one thing we can say about all alcohols is that they are to be enjoyed in moderation.