I’m just sitting here after a night of cocktails wondering whether pina colada makes you sleepy. The dizziness from the previous night is slowly wearing off and I can tell you my first-hand experience with pina colada and sleepiness.
You’re probably wondering because you’re just spending your evening drinking a pina colada. Maybe you’re even becoming a little tired and you wonder whether it’s the time or the cocktail that makes you tired.
The answer to this question is a little more complex than you might think, so I did some in-depth research for you. Here’s what I found.
Quick answer: Yes, pina colada makes you sleepy. Especially the alcohol and heavy cream in it induce sleep. However, if you drink more than one pina colada 2-3 hours before bed, it will disturb your sleep quality and you’ll frequently wake up.
But how did I get to this answer? I’m sure you want to know, how pina colada affects your sleep and what you can do to avoid all the downsides.
First, we’re going to take a look at the ingredients of pina colada: Do they affect your sleep? Do they have any sleep-inducing effects? Or is the alcohol making you tired?
Everything I say in this post is going to be a mixture of personal experiences and studies. I think that’s a healthy combination.
Then we’re going to find out whether you should actually use pina colada to fall asleep better or whether it’s dangerous for you.
And in the end, you will know everything you need to know about pina colada and your sleep. Sounds good? Keep reading.
Does Pina Colada have any sleep-inducing ingredients?
To find out whether pina colada makes you sleepy, taking a look at the ingredients first is a good starting point. Some foods are known to induce sleep and are actually used as natural sleep remedies. I’ve compiled a big list of the most relevant ones: 47 Natural Sleep Remedies for Insomnia
Here’s what’s inside pina colada according to the original recipe:
- 2 oz. rum
- 1 oz. coconut cream
- 1 oz. heavy cream
- 6 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- ½ cup crushed ice
Let’s take a look at the single ingredients and find out whether they are sleep-inducing or not.
Does the rum in pina colada make you sleepy?
The most present and dominant content of a pina colada cocktail is its heart: The rum. Due to its high content of alcohol, rum is sure to have an impact on your sleep.
Did you ever drink alcohol and notice that you fall asleep much faster? Here’s what a study about sleep and alcohol from Timothy Roehrs and Thomas Roth (both Ph.D.) from the Henry Ford Sleep Research Center says:
When you drink alcohol, you fall asleep faster (in scientific words: you have a decreased sleep latency) than without alcohol. Also, your sleep time increases when you drink low doses of alcohol. However, your improved sleep time decreases again with higher alcohol doses.
The Rebound-Effect (Alcohol & Sleep)
Another study investigated the effects of alcohol during your sleep time. The researchers divided sleep into two halves: The first half and the second half.
They found that in the first half of sleep, your body adapts to the increased alcohol levels and you can sleep just fine. But particularly for high alcohol doses, you will experience increased wake periods in the second half of your sleep.
The reason is that your body has adapted to the alcohol level in the first half of your sleep and has adjusted your sleep pattern for it. But in the second half of the night, your body has eliminated and metabolized most of the alcohol in your body, which causes your sleep to become unbalanced. This is called the “rebound effect”.
From personal experience, I can confirm the rebound effect. After drinking alcohol I always fall asleep fast, but then I wake up in the middle of the night and fail to fall asleep again. And when I do, the sleep is very weird: It causes bad dreams and increased wake-up rates.
But let’s return to the general question. Even though the sleep quality decreases because of the rebound effect, we can safely say: Yes, the alcohol contained in pina colada makes you sleepy.
Still, there are some other ingredients we need to take a look at.
Does the coconut cream in pina colada make you tired?
Coconut cream is rich in healthy fats, like coconut oil. Personally, I’ve seen many people, especially in the fitness-scene recommend coconut oil for cooking, for your skin and as a substitution for other unhealthy fats you use daily.
However, this does not apply to sleep. A study published by various sleep scientists discovered that coconut oil is rich in hexanoic acid which is known to increase the difficulty to fall asleep.
Even though the other healthy contents of coconut (minerals and vitamins) promote sleep, the negative effects of hexanoic acid might take over.
However, there is no study on this. The study I just mentioned just found the negative effects of hexanoic acid, not the effects of coconuts as a whole. Because of that, coconuts still remain a black-box for sleep scientists.
For example, there’s also a contrasting study that says coconut oil decreases sleep difficulties.
Because of these contrasting views, I think we can see coconut as a sleep-neutral ingredient in a pina colada.
How could heavy cream impact your sleep?
Everybody knows that drinking a good-night milk can improve your sleep. Heavy cream is no different. There are many studies showing that dairy products can improve your sleep.
During research I’ve found an interesting study that mentioned two things:
- Dairy products (milk, cream, yogurt,…) improve your sleep
- Food high in fat improves your sleep
Do you notice anything?
Heavy cream is both a dairy product and high in fat. That means it improves your sleep as a dairy product and as a high-fat food. Based on that we can already say, that heavy cream is definitely helping you fall asleep at night.
The reason that heavy-cream and other dairy products make you sleepy is an amino acid called tryptophan. When you consume tryptophan with your pina colada, your body converts it to a hormone called serotonin.
Serotonin, on the other hand, is responsible for regulating your mood and also your melatonin levels. That means tryptophan is like a support troop to make sure your melatonin level is correct.
By the way, serotonin is also known to make you feel lucky: Maybe that’s why you like pina colada that much.
How does pineapple juice in pina colada affect your sleep?
Pineapples have a fresh, summery and sweet taste. And that’s why I was surprised about a study that tested melatonin levels in 12 young males after consuming pineapple.
And, as a surprise, two hours after eating pineapple, melatonin levels rise. The reason is that pineapple already contains natural melatonin. Also, the antioxidant levels increased, which can benefit your sleep.
But: That doesn’t mean pineapple is beneficial for your sleep. I generally recommend avoiding acidic fruit before going to bed.
There’s one exception: The kiwi fruit. If you want to know why take a look at my list of 47 Natural Sleep Remedies.
But in general, pineapple is not good to eat before sleeping.
On one hand, the high fructose (fruit sugar) content increases your blood sugar and thus your blood pressure, which can impact your sleep quality and the time you need to fall asleep negatively.
Fructose is like a natural power-booster. You can eat it after a workout to refill your energy, but before sleep is not a good idea.
On the other hand, pineapples are acidic, which can cause indigestion or acid reflux at night.
Pineapple juice is not something you should drink before sleep.
Does crushed ice affect your sleep?
As long as you don’t drink an ice-cold pina colada right before sleep, I doubt it will have any impact on your sleep quality. Cold drinks will increase your body temperature regulation shortly, but it is negligible before sleep.
Especially because you mostly drink pina colada at parties or with your partner where you don’t go to bed right away.
Pina Colada & Sleep – Should you drink it before going to bed?
I’ve just listed everything you need to know about the ingredients of pina colada and how they affect your sleep. With all that knowledge, we can safely get to an answer.
Does pina colada make you sleepy?
Yes, pina colada makes you sleepy and tired! The alcohol contained in pina colada reduces the time you need to fall asleep. Also, alcohol is known to make you tired. It is the strongest sleep-inducer of a pina colada.
As a support, the tryptophan contained in heavy cream (or whatever cream is inside your pina colada), regulates your melatonin levels and makes sure that you can fall asleep well. Tryptophan is one of the most effective sleep-boosters you can find in food.
Should you drink pina colada before going to bed?
Now that you’ve learned so much about pina colada and sleep, you might wonder if it’s a good idea to drink it before going to bed. Of course, if you are at a friend’s birthday party, you couldn’t care less about whether pina colada makes you sleep well or not.
But, let’s see everything from a sleep-improvement perspective.
At first, pina colada contains lots of alcohol. Even though it makes you sleepy, it’s certainly not a good idea to drink too much because of the rebound-effect we discussed earlier. A reminder: When you fall asleep after drinking alcohol, your sleep quality degrades in the second half of the night which causes you to wake up frequently. That’s the rebound-effect.
I experienced the rebound effect myself: After drinking a few cocktails, I fell asleep at 9 pm (yes, pretty early). Even though the first half of the night was good, I kept waking up after 3:00 am.
Additionally, the combination of alcohol and frequently waking up can cause very weird and bad dreams where you can’t distinguish reality and dream. Absolutely not to recommend.
And on top of that, pina colada is a very acidic and sugary cocktail, which excites your digestive system.
I suggest not to drink pina colada 2-3 hours before sleep because drinking it comes with lots of sleep-disturbing side effects.
How many pina coladas can you drink before sleep?
Up until now, our result is that pina colada makes you sleepy and fall asleep faster, but if you drink too much of it, it will disturb your sleep quality noticeably.
There has to be an optimal amount of pina colada that you can drink before sleep: Enough to make you tired, but not enough to provoke negative effects.
You can safely drink one pina colada 2-3 hours before going to bed. With one pina colada the rebound-effect will not kick in and your digestive system has enough time to handle the acidic pineapple juice.
In general, this depends on your body weight, gender and genetics. But I’ve found one works the best. Any more will have a negative impact on your sleep.
The Outline – Pina Colada & Sleep
You should probably drink pina coladas during the daytime. There are so many side-effects regarding sleep that you should avoid.
However, if you want to drink pina colada at night, you should limit yourself to one cocktail to preserve your sleep quality.
By the way, you can find other interesting and helpful sleep improvement guides here on this website. Just click this link: Sleep improvement guides!