Does Alcoholism Affect Your Sleep?

Alcohol is what is known as a central nervous system depressant. This means it causes the activities in the brain to slow down, however drinking alcohol, especially in large amounts, is linked to poor quality and quantity of sleep in a person. A lot of people who suffer from alcoholism also tend to experience a sleep disorder known as insomnia.

When you drink in moderation and earlier in the day, it is generally safe and you will not see a whole lot of disruption in your sleeping, but it does vary from person to person. When a person is an alcoholic, it is a whole different story.

Does Alcoholism Affect Your Sleep?

How Alcoholism Affects Sleep Patterns

The relationship that sleep and alcohol have been studied since the early 1930s, but a lot of qualities about this relationship are still unknown to this day. After a person drinks alcohol it is absorbed into their bloodstream from their stomach and their small intestine. The liver’s enzymes will eventually metabolize the alcohol in the body, but since this is a pretty slow process, extra alcohol will continue to circulate throughout the body in the meantime.

People who drink large amounts of alcohol are more prone to having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and having a restful night of sleep.

Drinking Often Leads to Sleep Disturbances

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder that is associated with alcoholism. Unfortunately, many people think that alcohol can cure their insomnia when it is only exacerbating it. Alcohol is known to reduce REM sleep, which is necessary for restful sleep, so people with alcoholism or those who drink before bed will experience symptoms of insomnia and feel overly sleepy the next day. A lot of times, people don’t know alcohol can disrupt your sleep considering it is a central nervous system depressant and it will lead to a vicious cycle of self-medicating with alcohol to improve their sleep.

There have also been many studies showing that alcohol can contribute to sleep apnea. Alcohol causes the throat muscles to relax which causes a lot more resistance during breathing while asleep. Sleep apnea is described as abnormal breathing that causes temporary loss of breath while asleep. This causes loud and disruptive snoring and even choking sounds as someone gasps for air.

The Long Term Effects of Alcoholism On Sleep

Generally, after the first hour or two of being asleep, the body will fall into its REM cycle. This is the time when people dream and is known to be the more restorative time for sleep. Alcohol causes you to miss the REM cycle and leaves you sleep-deprived and your mind foggy. When alcohol isn’t causing insomnia, it can put you into a direct deep sleep, so it gives the drinker the sensation that they are sleeping restfully when they are not.

This leaves you feeling mentally exhausted. When this happens night after night, of not sleeping restfully, it will bog down your mind and disrupt your natural sleep cycle. For alcoholics especially, this can lead to a person becoming more and more dependent on alcohol to go to sleep even though it is making your sleep cycle that much worse.

Alcoholism Help at Garden State Treatment Center

If you have become dependent on alcohol to help you sleep, or for any other reason, you have a problem that requires professional help. Garden State Treatment Center offers top-quality treatment for alcoholism. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much better your sleep will be once you kick your alcohol addiction. Don’t wait any longer for your alcoholism to get worse. Call us today to discuss your treatment options.