If you feel pretty drunk, you’ll probably fall asleep quickly but have a restless night. Finally, going to bed with alcohol in your system increases your chances of having vivid dreams or nightmares, or sleepwalking and other parasomnias. Alcohol can worsen sleep apnea, a condition where a person’s breathing stops and regularly starts while they sleep. Research from 2018 corroborates this, suggesting that people experience a lower duration and quality of REM after consuming alcohol. Low and moderate doses of alcohol tend not to affect REM in the first half of sleep, while high doses of alcohol significantly reduce REM sleep reduction in the first part of sleep. As alcohol enhances the GABA’s function, it causes a slowing of brain activity, which can make a person feel sleepy and tired.

Future studies should unravel these tentative associations in individuals who misuse alcohol. Though alcohol can have a sedative effect, it has also been linked to sleep disorders like insomnia. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, alcohol consumption could be a contributing factor. It’s common for someone who’s alcohol-dependent to experience long-term sleep problems since insomnia and other sleep disorders are typical symptoms of alcoholism. Researchers have noted a link between long-term alcohol abuse and chronic sleep problems. People can develop a tolerance for alcohol rather quickly, leading them to drink more before bed in order to initiate sleep.

Heart rate increase

Alprazolam and diazepam demonstrate greater rewarding effects of single challenge doses in abstinent alcoholic subjects compared to those without alcohol dependence (80). Not all alcoholics have a euphoric response, https://ecosoberhouse.com/ and clinicians are unable to predict who may misuse benzodiazepines. The studies of abuse liability of benzodiazepines in alcoholic persons suffer from the bias of only studying alcoholics seeking treatment.

can alcohol cause insomnia

We also found 15 NWs (7.7%; AS 5.7, CI 5.244–6.233) and 4 DWs (2%; AS 5.5, CI 2.453–8.547) tended to consume greater amounts of alcohol per occasion (Figure 3) (Table 2). Research has found that people’s ability to remember, pay attention, and carry out cognitive functions declines with a lack of sleep. During sleep, a person’s heart rate should slow and drop to below 60 beats per minute. 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. Consuming alcohol and experiencing restricted sleep reduces alertness during the day.

Alcohol Dependence and its Relationship with Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders

For example, administration of the tumor necrosis factor α
(TNF-α) antagonist etanercept led to normalization of REM sleep in 18 abstinent
alcoholics (Irwin et al. 2009). Abnormalities in the timing of REM sleep would
appear to last longer into the abstinence period. The role of circadian misalignment in
disturbed brain reward function, and its role in the development of alcohol use disorders is
the subject of a recent review by Hasler and Clark (2013). In one study, subjects with AD in acute withdrawal demonstrated a higher intensity of respiratory events in their sleep (12.6 ± 12.3 events/hour), as compared to healthy controls (3.6 ± 3.4 events/hour) (Le Bon et al., 1997).

It is more often consumed at night, also called a nightcap, and may negatively affect your sleep. While alcohol can make you feel tired at does alcohol cause insomnia first, it can also disturb your sleep as it wears off. We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery.

Why it makes you sleepy

Adenosine has sleep-promoting inhibitory effects on the central nervous system, including the acetylcholine system, which it exerts at adenosine receptor sites (Jones 2000). Several so-called sleep factors also have been implicated in the initiation and maintenance of sleep. These substances, which are naturally produced by the body, are released by certain cells into the bloodstream or the fluid surrounding the brain (i.e., cerebrospinal fluid) and can induce sleep. One sleep factor that may mediate some of alcohol’s effects on sleep is growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) (Krueger et al. 1999; Lands 1999). As the name implies, GHRH also stimulates the release of growth hormone, although the sleep-promoting action of GHRH does not depend on growth hormone. However, scientific consensus maintains that chronic use ultimately disrupts sleep-related physiology–even among those who do not meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence.

can alcohol cause insomnia