Does Alcohol Improve Sleep?

Those who have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorders frequently report insomnia symptoms. “We’re finding that even with a glass of alcohol, you’re seeing a meaningful decrease in sleep quality,” says Frank Song, a researcher in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. His and others’ research has also found a litany of other negative health effects caused by even moderate amounts of alcohol.

However, since the effects of alcohol are different from person to person, even small amounts of alcohol can reduce sleep quality for some people. Alcohol is a depressant and can increase the symptoms of anxiety and depression disorders. Tiredness, brain fog and memory loss can be caused by regular alcohol consumption too.

Quick Tips for Better Sleep

More than 70% of those with alcohol use disorder (AUD) also experience alcohol-induced sleep disorders, such as insomnia, according to scientists in a 2020 review. Regular drinking has also been linked to shorter periods of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a disrupted circadian rhythm, and does alcohol help you sleep snoring. But knowing when to stop can be difficult as everybody processes alcohol differently. Some research has shown that drinking alcohol even six hours before bedtime can disrupt your sleep. So it’s a good idea to steer clear of alcohol for at least six hours before going to bed.

  • Alcohol in your body inhibits the release of vasopressin, your body’s natural anti-diuretic hormone.
  • Breathing problems — Since alcohol’s sedative effect extends to your entire body, including your muscles, it may allow your airway to close more easily while you’re asleep.
  • Your brain functioning and neural activity slow down, which is why you may slur your speech after a few drinks.

And with sober curiosity on the rise, the number for 2024 might be the biggest yet. If you resolve to make yourself healthier this year, talk to a healthcare provider about your goals. They can provide guidance, resources and support to get you headed in the right direction and help you follow through on your New Year’s resolutions. Not getting enough sleep can also contribute to hypertension, atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

How do I get a good night’s sleep after drinking?

Guy Meadows, a sleep researcher and co-founder of The Sleep School, an online platform offering science-based support around sleep, told Live Science that alcohol affects the four stages of sleep in different ways. Drinking to fall asleep regularly can build up a tolerance to alcohol, gradually lessening booze’s ability to help you drift off, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Lindsay Modglin is a nurse and professional writer who regularly writes about complex medical topics, as well as travel and the great outdoors. She holds a professional certificate in scientific writing from Stanford University School of Medicine and has contributed to many major publications including Insider and Verywell. As a passionate advocate for science-based content, she loves writing captivating material that supports scientific research and education.

  • In fact, difficulty sleeping is one of the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms and one that causes many to relapse.
  • Certain regions of the brain are particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol.
  • Alcohol can have a detrimental impact on sleep, but these problems can also persist once you decide to stop drinking.

As a general rule, Meadows said, people should aim to leave at least three to four hours between drinking and sleeping to avoid sleep disruption. “For the best sleep, try to have at least four alcohol-free nights every week,” Meadows said. If alcohol continues to disrupt your overall sleep quality, you may consider cutting it out entirely, or limiting your intake before bedtime. If you’ve stopped drinking alcohol, but are still having sleep issues, be sure to reach out to a sleep specialist. It’s important to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) or sleep apnea (when breathing stops multiple time a night) if they are present.

More: Health

This difference occurs because alcohol alters your sleep architecture, the basic structure of a typical night’s sleep. To me, that doesn’t entirely rule out the usefulness of a nightcap in some situations. For some people getting to sleep can be a real challenge, and it sounds like alcohol can make it a little easier. But it’s important to remember that (as always) there are trade-offs.

does alcohol help you sleep

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