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Alcohol and the Sleeping Brain PMC

And insomnia has the potential to contribute to alcohol dependence. Generally, the higher or more frequent a person’s alcohol use, the worse the effects will be. One study from 2018 compared sleep quality among people who drank different amounts of alcohol. The research found people who consumed higher amounts of alcohol slept 39.2% worse than people who drank in low or moderate amounts.

As pointed out above, as REM sleep is vital in memory consolidation, this makes the reduction of REM sleep all the more tenuous for people’s mental wellbeing. Avoid alcohol if you’re taking sleeping pills—both are depressants, and in combination, they can make it very hard for a person to breathe while sleeping, so much so that it actually becomes dangerous. Studies have found conflicting information about how alcohol affects REM sleep.

Does alcohol increase heart rate while sleeping?

One good rule of thumb is to stop alcohol and sleep alcohol at least two hours before going to bed each night. Tracking our sleep on nights when we drink and nights when we do not drink can help us figure out if alcohol is negatively affecting our sleep. These issues can continue even after someone with alcohol use disorder stops drinking alcohol. “Despite some improvement after withdrawal subsides, sleep patterns may never return to normal in those with alcoholism, even after years of abstinence,” the NIAAA says. “We have shown thata single session of binge alcohol drinking reduces the expression of a gene that regulates sleep,” Thakkar told Mattress Clarity via email.

rem sleep

With that kind of interrupted sleep, it’s almost impossible to meet your sleep need. And depriving yourself of the sleep your body needs leads to low energy and impaired functioning even after you sober up the next day. One option is a wearable sleep tracker, like one built into a smartwatch. These trackers use the accelerometer within the smartwatch to track when one is asleep, restless, and awake.

Alcohol and Sleep: Interactions, Sleep Quality, & Limits

According to the National Foundation, “the consumption of alcohol—especially in excess—has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.” Multiple studies have shown taking a warm bath or shower around 90 minutes before bed increases and improves deep sleep. Give yourself a 3-hour window between your last drink and bedtime. Combining sleeping pills and alcohol can increase the sedative effects of both substances. Women are more likely to experience sleep disruption after drinking than men.

How does alcohol affect sleep?

Regular drinking can affect the quality of your sleep making you feel tired and sluggish. This is because drinking disrupts your sleep cycle. Some people may find alcohol helps them get to sleep initially, but this is outweighed by the negative effect on sleep quality through the night.