Overcoming alcohol addiction is so difficult because of all the effects it can have on you mentally, socially and physically.

One of the ways that alcohol can affect you is what it does to your sleep. Alcohol and sleep are closely connected, and there are misconceptions about helping sleep. If you have found yourself drinking alcohol to help sleep or are suffering from alcohol insomnia, it’s important to know why this happens and what to do about it.

In the wide lens of addiction troubles, sleeping may not seem that serious, but it is a vital part of life and important to your overall health.


Understanding Insomnia

Insomnia is trouble sleeping. It could mean trouble getting to sleep, frequent waking up in the night, not sleeping well, or not sleeping enough.

Short-term insomnia is when you have a brief period that you struggle with your sleeping. This is usually a reaction to things happening in your life – the death of a loved one, major life changes, stopping taking a drug or stress over work. Short-term insomnia lasts under 3 months and may fade as you cope better with whatever changes you’ve experienced.

Chronic insomnia is when your sleeping pattern is disrupted at least three times a week for over three months.

Factors that affect the development of insomnia include poor sleep hygiene, mental health issues, medical conditions, life circumstances and changes and genetics.


Is Alcohol a False Sleep Aid?

Some people think alcohol can help sleep. This is because it can act as a sedative and make you drowsy, seeming to make sleeping easier.

While alcohol can initially help you fall asleep quicker, once your body metabolises the alcohol, the sedative effects wear off.

This is the rebound effect.

In the second half of the night, the rebound effect makes sleep lighter and disrupted. You may wake up more, need to go to the toilet more often, and find it harder to get back to sleep once you wake up.


Can Alcohol Cause Insomnia?

The effects of alcohol on sleep can’t be underestimated. Whilst alcohol may not be the sole cause of your developing insomnia, it can increase the risk in many ways.

Sleep Architecture

This is the pattern of normal sleep. It is split into non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is deep sleeping with all the restorative benefits. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep architecture, decreasing the amount of REM sleep you get.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Insomnia is a common withdrawal symptom. When you stop drinking, your body is dealing with the changes, and this can disrupt the systems in your body – including your sleep. If you experience insomnia during withdrawal, it is likely to disappear once you’ve gone through detox.


Short-Term vs. Long-Term Effects on Sleep

Alcohol can affect your sleep in the short and long term.

Short-term effects include:

  • Disrupted sleep
  • Less REM sleep
  • Hangovers will make you groggy

Long-term effects include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cause stress/anxiety, which makes insomnia worse
  • Disrupt body clock
  • Increase heart rate when it should drop during sleep
  • Affect cognitive functions


Recognising Alcohol-Induced Insomnia

There are symptoms to be on the lookout for to realise you are suffering from alcohol insomnia.

  • Not feeling rested after sleeping
  • Waking up a lot in the night
  • Lying awake for a long time before falling asleep
  • More stressed and irritable during the day
  • Headaches during the day
  • Waking up before you should


Coping With and Treating Alcohol-Induced Insomnia

If you have developed alcohol insomnia, there are things you can do to mitigate the effects. There are also steps you can take to treat the condition that will help you confront your addiction issues, stopping the effects of alcohol on sleep.


Melatonin is a hormone your body produces called the sleep hormone. It lets your body know that it is time to sleep, so you relax and go to sleep naturally. Taking melatonin supplements can help improve your sleep quality.

Some medications help with insomnia. If you are dealing with your addiction issues and in recovery, medication can still be an option, but the pros and cons of administering them should be considered by medical professionals.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help with alcohol insomnia. It helps you change your sleeping habits and mindset around sleep to improve your life. Other well-being therapies, such as mindfulness, yoga, and muscle relaxation, can help you destress and prepare your body for sleeping.

Alcohol Rehab

If your drinking is a big reason for suffering from insomnia, then it must be dealt with. Alcohol rehab can help you overcome your addiction issues and help you deal with the issues that are affecting your sleep.


How to Prevent Alcohol-Induced Insomnia

If you are worried about your relationship with alcohol and sleep, there are things you can do to prevent a problem from developing. These are easy things to incorporate into your life that aren’t as severe as an alcohol detox if you are unable to achieve that without professional help.

  • Hydrate: Avoiding dehydration is important for keeping your body running efficiently. It also lessens the effects of alcohol and helps you sleep.
  • No screens: The screens of phones, laptops, and tablets suppress melatonin and affect your internal body clock.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise improves your health and quality of sleep
  • Consistent sleep schedule: With the routine of going to bed and waking up, your body gets used to these times and gets better at accepting sleep.
  • Sleep hygiene: Sleep in a quiet, dark setting, avoid looking at screens, and create an environment that encourages sleep.


Reach Out for Help Today

So, the big question was, “Can alcohol cause insomnia?”

The answer is – Yes…it can increase the chances of it happening. Alcohol and sleep are closely linked issues, and lack of sleep will not help your alcohol addiction issues.

If you are struggling with alcohol insomnia, then you should seek professional help. At Addiction Advocates we can help find you a rehab centre that is perfect for you.

To learn more about us and start your recovery journey, call now at 08000126088.