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#AAW15 – Alcohol and sleep

Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night. Plus you may wake dehydrated and needing the toilet.

People could become dependent on alcohol for sleep. Used too often, it can actually cause insomnia.

Firstly, it accelerates sleep onset, meaning we drop off faster. Next, it sends us into a very deep sleep.

With increasing doses, alcohol suppresses our breathing. It can turn non-snorers into snorers and snorers into people with sleep apnoea – where the breathing’s interrupted.

But the third change – fragmented sleep patterns the second half of the night – is less pleasant.
Alcohol reduces how much time we spend in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the stage of sleep where dreams generally occur. As a consequence, the sleep may feel less restful.

All of this is not news to the Drug and Alcohol Action Team. I have found from personal experience that if I feel like a good night’s sleep then it is best to avoid even a small drink.


If you do have a drink, it’s best to leave an hour and a half to two hours before going to bed so the alcohol is already wearing off.

Why not try the ‘no alcohol before bed’ experiment and see for yourself? If it works spread the news.

Anyone concerned about their use of drugs or alcohol can contact our local services for help and advice:




About Paul Hooper, WCC (575 Articles)
Group Manager: Community Safety and Substance Misuse
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