Here’s what drinking alcohol before bed can do to the body, along with a few tips on how to get better sleep without drinking. While alcohol use can cause hidden insomnia, a more obvious form of insomnia can occur during alcohol withdrawal. Because alcohol makes falling asleep easier, stopping alcohol use can make it more difficult to fall asleep, even though sleep quality will be better once you are actually asleep.
Contact Encore Outpatient Services today to learn more about our programs or if you have questions about admissions. While we can make exceptions for a warm tea or a glass of milk, it’s imperative that you don’t replace one addiction with another. It may seem unlikely, but insomnia can be one of the most frustrating experiences and can and does drive people to rely on substances how to sleep without alcohol even when they shouldn’t. This includes over the counter medications, prescription drugs that have addictive properties, or other consumable products like CBD, or cannabis. Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in the short- and long-term. Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention.
Types of Alcohol-Related Sleep Problems
You might get less REM sleep in the first half of the night, or across the night as a whole. REM is the stage of sleep known for being when you dream, but it’s also important for memory consolidation, brain development, regulating emotions, creativity, and pain response. But, alcohol has the power to seriously mess up your sleep — which, of course, can mess up your energy levels, mood, and performance the next day. This isn’t a direct health benefit, but it can indirectly help to reduce stress and anxiety around money. Let’s say you drink seven drinks a week, that can add up to be a weekly savings of anywhere from about $15 to $100 depending on whether you drink at home or out and your drink of choice. This doesn’t take into account any post-drink foods or tipsy purchases that you might not make otherwise.
Nevertheless, the results of the three studies suggest that insomnia precedes the development of alcohol problems in at least some adults. Several studies assessing abnormalities in SWS% during prolonged sobriety indicated that SWS% remained suppressed for 3 to 14 months (Drummond et al. 1998; Imatoh et al. 1986; Ishibashi et al. 1987; Williams and Rundell 1981). Two longitudinal studies that followed alcoholics over several years found that SWS% normalized by 21 to 27 months (Williams and Rundell 1981; Drummond et al. 1998). These results are consistent with the findings of two cross-sectional studies, which reported normal SWS% between 1 and 4 years (Adamson and Burdick 1973; Wagman and Allen 1975).
Drinking Water Before Bed
Throughout the night, your brain will cycle through all of the sleep stages multiple times to give you a good night’s rest. Eye movement increases, often seeming to jerk around, breathing increases and can be irregular and shallow, blood pressure increases and dreams begin. During this period, learning, memory, and processing functions of the brain are enhanced, affecting a person’s long-term memory capacity.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and it slows down your brain activity. It acts as a sedative and it can lead to decreased sleep onset latency — the time it takes to fall asleep. So if you drink before bed you may experience insomnia-like symptoms.