Alcohol and Sleep

Alcohol is one of the most prevailing sleep assistants. In today's competitive world many people are depressed and can't handle the daily stress. People drink alcohol to sleep and relax. However, alcohol can have more negative effects in a longer period than the short-term positive effects.

Does Alcohol help you sleep?

Alcohol has a sedating effect on one’s mind and body, which can make a person fall asleep. The sleep from alcohol is more like unconsciousness. Alcohol makes a person dozy and effects the sleep cycle. For a short period of time, it may help a person to fall asleep but the element and abundance of sleep are lost. Sedating oneself with alcohol is not sleep.

It is more like passing out and it also destroys the biological sleep cycle. The sleep gained due to the impact of alcohol also impacts the body functions. An example can be high heart beat rates, depression and slows down metabolism.

Alcohol aids sleep as it relaxes the body muscles and helps to forget about the daily problems and stress. It dabs the body temperatures which leads to sleep. Alcohol helps to relax the body muscles which makes an individual feel lethargic and sleepy.

Why does Alcohol make you sleepy?

Alcohol has the properties of a sedative and a muscle relaxant that makes an individual sleepy. The sedative nature of alcohol divests the energy in the body. This triggers the body system to believe that sleep is required.  Alcohol is also a depressant, this means it causes depression in the drinker. Depression causes a person to sleep more and that is also a reason alcohol makes a person sleepy.

Whether alcohol makes a person sleepy or not also depends on the amount consumed. The higher the amount, the more relaxed and sleepy will the individual be. In other words, the higher content of blood alcohol will cause more slumber.

How alcohol affects sleep?

The consumption of alcohol can be both negative and positive for sleep. Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts and at the right time of the day can be positive. For example, a glass of red wine with lunch won't be harmful. This will also not affect the sleep.  However, drinking high amounts of alcohol at night can have a negative impact on the sleep cycle. This can also make the sleep experience uncomfortable and agitated.

The use of alcohol to fall asleep can be very dangerous. On a temporary basis it may seem like falling asleep quickly, however, it is more like losing consciousness. Sleeping due to the effects of alcohol is also not healthy. Alcohol makes a person drowsy and this can make a person sleep whenever they drink and not at the specific time of sleeping. This can be unhealthy and also lead to insomnia.

The consumption of alcohol can lead to insomnia and sleepwalking. This destroys the quality of sleep. It leads to inordinate muscle relaxation which can cause difficulty in breathing. This results in snoring.

How much alcohol is too much for sleep?

The amount of alcohol that is too much for sleep depends from person to person. People who have been regular consumers would require larger amounts to fall asleep. Some people might require 2-3 rounds to fall asleep while other might sleep with a single serving. The sleep of the majority can be effected with two servings in a day.  However, heavy drinking can lead to a displeasing sleep experience.

A person should not consume more than 2-3 servings in a week in order to maintain a healthy sleep and circadian rhythm.

The problem with using alcohol as a sleep aid

The use of alcohol as a sleeping aid makes an individual dependent on it. If the individual withdraws the use of alcohol he might face depression and insomnia as a result. The use of alcohol as a sleeping aid can cause a disturbance in the sleep cycle and the quality of sleep.

The use of alcohol as a sleeping aid also causes the quantity of intake to increase day by day. The body starts to tolerate a specific amount of alcohol and it stops acting as a sleeping aid, more alcohol is then required to make it work as a sleeping aid. This means that high alcohol consumption would be there and the individual might become an addict.

Moreover, the use of alcohol as a sleeping aid can also cause problems such as sleep apnea, insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure and a variety of cancers. All these factors combined can also lead to death and a low quality of life.

How much alcohol affects circadian rhythms and why it affects your health

Circadian rhythms also called the sleep/wake cycle. This is the centralized clock in our body which determines the sleep and wake time. It also administers the other bodily functions such as metabolism, immunity and sexual drive.

The usage of alcohol agitates circadian rhythm and it impacts the bodily functions. It disrupts the normal functioning of the body and the sleep cycle. Due to the consumption of alcohol, the body becomes reliant on it and destroys the normal circadian rhythms. This can also lead to problems such as liver problems and slow metabolism.

However, circadian rhythms are afflicted in different ways depending on the amount of consumption. The higher the amount of consumption, the greater the effect.

Why does alcohol cause night sweats?

Alcohol provokes the heart rate to increase which sparks respiration. Heavy precipitation cause night sweats. Night sweats are about waking up in the middle of the night with heavy sweating. This happens because alcohol is not broken down by the stomach, instead, our liver breaks it down. Due to the fast absorption in the blood lining the body temperature and heart rates rise due to which night sweats are caused.

Another reason for night sweats can be alcohol withdrawal. When an alcoholic individual stops the consumption of alcohol, the body shows signs of withdrawal which include night sweats.

Can drinking alcohol cause sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is the difficulty in breathing while sleeping. Alcohol can prompt sleep apnea because it muddles the sleep cycle by modifying the time required to fall asleep and the Non REM sleep. As alcohol relaxes the body muscles, it also tends to relax the muscles in an individual's airway. This causes difficulty in breathing inducing to sleep apnea.

When an individual is going through sleep apnea, the muscles in the airway tranquilize and slender. This causes difficulty in breathing and a person might wake up during the night. As alcohol works as a muscle relaxant it causes sleep apnea.

The link between alcoholism and insomnia

The use of alcohol leads to insomnia and these two conditions have a link between them. Insomnia can be a result of alcoholism. The alcohol intake disrupts the normal sleep cycles which include the REM and the Non REM sleep. Alcoholism also destroys the circadian rhythms and creates the rebound effect. All these elements gather up to form Insomnia in alcoholic people.

The regular users of alcohol can have high tolerance rates. This means the amount of drink won’t matter and this leads to sleep disorders and insomnia. The individuals who are dependent on alcohol to sleep might also face insomnia when they stop drinking. This can be due to the withdraw effects.

The consumption of Alcohol can also cause problems such as depression, memory loss etc. this disorders also lead to insomnia and it is indirectly related to alcoholism.

Does alcohol impact sleep differently for men and women?

Alcohol impacts both men and women. Both the genders experience drowsiness, drunken, befuddled and lethargic. However, it can impact women more adversely than men. Women tend to struggle more with sleep deprivation and agitated sleep.

Women face more adverse effects of alcohol as more alcohol gets absorbed into their body. For example, a man and women consuming the same amount of alcohol, however, due to the lower body weight of a women more alcohol will be absorbed in their body. The will lead to higher blood sugar levels. This can also lead to the development of breast cancer in women.

After the consumption of alcohol women get decreased and unpeaceful sleep as compared to men. The metabolism rate is higher in a women's body as compared to men so this leads to the fast metabolism of alcohol which leads to entering the Non-REM sleep faster. This leads to memory loss as the period of sleep in which the body restores memory is totally lost. However, in men, a small amount of REM sleep is still there.

Does alcohol affect REM sleep?

REM sleep is the state of sleep in which there is eye movement under the lid and when a person dreams. The effects of alcohol increase the sedation effects and people enter their Non-REM sleep before the REM sleep. This changes the natural structure of the sleep which is not favorable for the human body.

REM sleep is shortened under the influence of alcohol. During the REM period of sleep, the body relaxes and reinforce the memory. A lack of this can lead to not remembering the actions that took place before the consumption of alcohol. In the later run, this can impact the long-term memory in an abrogating manner. The lack of REM sleep can also lead to a feeling of dopiness and confusion after the sleep.

What is REM rebound effect?

The REM rebound effect is when a person falls into the REM sleep after a low quality of sleep and sleep deprivation. This happens when a person starts to gain consciousness from the alcohol effects. It is about going into a more conscious REM sleep from an unconscious one. This is an opposite effect of the normal sleep. In a normal sleep cycle, a person first enters the REM and then the Non-REM sleep. While in the REM rebound effect it is totally opposite.

Due to this effect a person might wake up during the night without remembering it, which disrupts the sleep cycle and the quality of sleep.


To conclude this, I would like to condemn that alcohol has more negative effects than positive. The consumption of alcohol causes fatigue and sleep. However, this later turns into problems like insomnia, sleep apnea and disturbed circadian rhythms. The consumption of alcohol causes the sleep cycles to disrupt which are due to night sweats, sleep apnea and the more frequent visits to the bathroom.

Alcohol should be consumed in moderate amounts and not to serve the purpose of a sleeping aid. Sleep should be taken in a natural way to make sure the body continues to function properly. The consumption of alcohol as a sleeping aid makes an individual addict which can lead to many problems such as strokes, high blood pressure, liver failure, and cancer.

Individuals should try to avoid alcohol as much as they can as it is not a healthy habit and creates complexities in life. It only provides a temporary period of relaxation and sleep, however, it can have negative impacts in the longer period of time.

The individuals who consume alcohol should limit it to 2-3 servings in a week. They should also maintain the time of consumption in order to avoid any sleeping disorders and to enjoy a healthy sleeping experience.

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