If you have a nip of alcohol at bedtime, it may actually help you to fall asleep, provided you don't do it too often as the sleep-inducing effect can wear off.
Studies show that a moderate dose of alcohol consumed as much as three hours before bedtime can increase wakefulness during the second half of sleep, even though the alcohol has already gone from your body by that time.
If you do want to savor a little wine with your dinner, here's how to make sure alcohol won't hamper your shut-eye that night:
Follow the three-hour rule. Finish drinking at least three hours before bedtime.
Take it easy. Don't overdo your imbibing. Stick with one or two drinks per day.
Retire early. Try not to stay up too much past your usual bedtime as this will increase alcohol's sleep-depriving effects.
Hydrate. Follow the one-for-one rule: Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol to help prevent dehydration. And down a few extra glasses of water the next morning, too.