Do you end your day with a nightcap to relax to before bed? Some physicians once recommended a nightcap as a sleep aid. Although alcohol may help people unwind and put the stressors of the day at bay, it can actually have detrimental effects. Many people with insomnia self-medicate with alcohol because it is sedating and induces sleep at the beginning of the night. However, it is a poor choice overall because the body quickly metabolizes alcohol and its effects wear off within a few hours. Despite being able to fall asleep with alcohol at the beginning of the night, consuming it before bed can actually lead to more awakenings, lighter sleep and disrupted sleep stages. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try turning off all electronic devices and avoiding caffeine before bed.