This can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and other issues the following day. Drinking to fall asleep can build a tolerance, forcing you to consume more alcohol each successive night in order to experience the sedative effects. The percentage of REM sleep in the first half of the night was not decreased on
the first drinking night at either the 0.03 or 0.10% BAC doses in the Feige et al. (2006) study. Rundell et
al. (1972) reported a decrease in REM sleep on the first drinking night in their
study, but values on the second and third drinking nights were not different to baseline.

  • All this is to say that “just quitting” isn’t always easy, even when alcohol use harms your sleep and well-being.
  • Unfortunately, recovery and abstinence are more challenging if you aren’t able to get enough good-quality sleep.
  • The repeated collection of alcohol and sleep data over such a long period is unique.

Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol. If you think you may have a sleep problem or disorder, consider taking our brief sleep quiz to find out. Remember that only a healthcare professional or sleep specialist can diagnose a sleep condition. Alcohol has been shown to negatively impact sleep, but this comes down to the individual. Alcohol can increase the quantity of non-REM sleep during the first half of the night, but it decreases REM sleep in the second half. If you’re turning to alcohol to help you sleep, you may be making the quality of your sleep worse.

7. Risk of Bias in Individual Studies

People may also use alcohol as a sleeping aid because it slows down the central nervous system, which makes sleeping easier. Other studies show that alcohol is often used as a type of self-medication for insomnia. According to the data, at least 20% of adults in the United States use alcohol to help them sleep at night.

Chronotype is a product of both the homeostatic sleep drive and the circadian timing [10]. Chronotype can be conceptualized as being categorical (“morning”, “evening”, and “indeterminate” or “neither” types) or dimensional (ranging from extreme morningness to extreme evenigness) in nature. The “evening” type (greater eveningness) individual prefers a later bedtime and a later rise time and has a greater need for sleep.

How can Alcohol Affect People with Insomnia?

In some cases, subjects were studied from their hospital rooms, which were connected by telemetry to the Sleep Laboratory. The mean time period between PSG and the patient’s last drink was 31.5 (S.D. 15.5) days. Only data from the first night of sleep monitoring were used for this report, because not all subjects completed more than one night of study. More water released by the kidneys increases the rate of urination, which can cause people to wake up throughout the night to pee. Waking up multiple times per night to use the bathroom can contribute to insomnia and reduce sleep quality.

Anxiety, Depression & Alcohol Use

The idea behind sleep restriction is that by limiting the amount of time you allow yourself to sleep and stay in bed, you’ll increase your desire to sleep (called sleep drive) and sleep less fitfully and more efficiently. In fact, 12-step recovery programs often refer to the factors that increase a person’s risk for relapse as HALT, standing for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Sleep disruptions may increase the risk that a person will feel tired, which might cause a person to reach for a drink if they feel like they can sleep sober. People in alcohol recovery take a long time to fall asleep, have problems sleeping through the night, and feel that their sleep is not restorative.

Fortunately, there are treatments and coping techniques that can help you get better rest, which can help you feel better during alcohol recovery. If you are experiencing sleep problems, be sure to talk to your doctor about your options. People in recovery are often more likely to have problems with sleep onset than with sleep maintenance, which is why some might conclude that they can’t sleep sober.