Alcohol and insomnia: Possible risks and more

Among 1,920 community dwelling men and women, those with persistent alcohol dependence had higher odds of insomnia that those without alcohol dependence over a fifteen year follow-up20. Whilst we did not measure alcohol dependence, we did find such an association between hazardous drinking and disturbed sleep in our data. Sleep problems are common during this phase and may be prevalent in about 65% of individuals during this phase (Brower et al., 2001a, Kolla et al., 2014). Subjective complaints in those with insomnia as compared to those without include longer SOL, increased WASO and lower sleep efficiency (Brower et al., 2001a, Conroy et al., 2006b). PSG sleep findings during the first 8 weeks of abstinence include increased SOL and stage 1 sleep and decreased TST and SWS % (Gillin et al., 1990b, Gillin et al., 1990a, Moeller et al., 1993, Le Bon et al., 1997, Brower et al., 2001a). REM sleep findings have been inconsistent during this phase with some studies reporting a decreased REM sleep latency and increased REM % (Gillin et al., 1990a, Williams and Rundell, 1981) whereas other studies did not (Gillin et al., 1990b, Le Bon et al., 1997).

A.I. makes workers feel so isolated and conflicted that it’s driving them to drink and suffer from insomnia, study finds – Fortune

A.I. makes workers feel so isolated and conflicted that it’s driving them to drink and suffer from insomnia, study finds.

Posted: Tue, 13 Jun 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Given the bidirectional relationships between sleep and alcohol use, a brief summary of the evidence for alcohol’s effects on sleep and circadian rhythms is warranted as it provides important context in interpreting observational data where it is impossible to fully parse these bidirectional effects. In short, it’s mainly due to your body rebalancing itself after stopping a substance. And because alcohol is a sedative, the withdrawal can follow the opposite sort of pattern. For example, you might feel overstimulated, restless, and anxious after quitting.

Alcohol and Sleep-Related Problems

Rundell et
al. (1972) reported a decrease in REM sleep on the first drinking night in their
study, but values on the second and third drinking nights were not different to baseline. While these studies support others showing a suppressing effect of REM sleep by a single
dose of alcohol, more studies are needed to determine whether the effect persists after
multiple drinking nights. Yules, Freedman, and Chandler (1966)
studied three young non-alcohol dependent, men over 5 nights of drinking, with 1g/Kg
ethanol administered 15 minutes before bedtime. Yules,
Lippman and Freedman (1967) studied four young men over three or five nights of
drinking with 1 g/Kg ethanol administered 4 hours before bedtime.

Women also reported higher ratings of sleepiness after consuming alcohol than did men. No
sex differences in the effects of alcohol on sleep were seen in the group of older
adolescents studied by Chan et al. (Chan et al.
2013). In a study of 42 recovering alcoholics (15 women) and 42 controls (23
women), we found that women had a better sleep efficiency and more delta activity during
NREM sleep than men, regardless of diagnosis (Colrain,
Turlington, and Baker 2009a). Further, estimated lifetime alcohol
consumption predicted percentage of SWS in alcoholic men but not alcoholic women (Colrain, Turlington, and Baker 2009a). Estimated
lifetime alcohol consumption was higher in alcoholic men than women, and the women had
longer periods of sobriety prior to testing on average. Studies that include larger groups
of male and female alcoholics are needed to further evaluate sex differences in the impact
of alcohol dependence on sleep.

Alcohol and Sleep Apnea

While alcohol can make you feel tired at first, it can also disturb your sleep as it wears off. The key is to drink in moderation and give yourself time before going to bed so the alcohol can clear your system. If you have alcohol in your system when you hit the hay, you may not sleep very deeply, or for very long, on and off throughout the night. That’s because as alcohol starts to metabolize, the sedative effect wears off. As you work toward quitting, you can try adjusting your drinking around your sleep for less severe impact on your sleep patterns. Ethical review and approval were waived for this study, as the study, being non-invasive and involving simple data collection, was conducted on patients seen in a private practice.

alcohol causing insomnia

Then, as withdrawal from the drug or alcohol occurs there’s a big sleep-wake reversal which then needs to be addressed. You may also experience parasomnias which are disruptive sleep disorders that occur in specific stages of sleep or in sleep-wake transitions. These can happen during arousals from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep or non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.

Poor Sleep Hygiene

Unfortunately, these
studies predate the acceptance of a standardized sleep scoring system, and the data are
difficult to interpret (e.g. stage 1 NREM and REM sleep are combined), however their data
are consistent with REM suppression and enhancement of slow wave sleep in the first part
of the night. Sleep occurs over a sustained period, typically lasting approximately 8 hours in
humans. In the absence of continued alcohol causing insomnia dosing, alcohol consumed prior to the onset of sleep,
therefore, will not be at a constant level throughout the sleep period. Depending on the
timing of sleep onset relative to consumption, blood alcohol levels may continue to rise for
some time during sleep, but inevitably they will start to fall as a function of metabolism,
the time course of which is unaltered by sleep itself (Rundell et al. 1972).

alcohol causing insomnia

Furthermore, an evening chronotype and greater shifts in weekday-weekend sleep-wake schedules have been linked to alterations in the brain sensitivity to reward and possibly a change towards greater substance use behavior. The recommended treatment for insomnia disorder in the community, as well as those with AUD, is CBT-I. Given that some individuals with insomnia have intertwined circadian abnormalities, it may be useful to consider chronotherapeutic interventions such as bright light in addition to CBT-I in these individuals, as it has been shown to be efficacious for sleep onset insomnia [43]. Alcohol is one of the most commonly used psychoactive substances in the community. Nonetheless, alcohol disrupts sleep through multiple mechanisms, such as disrupting electrophysiologic sleep architecture, triggering insomnia, and contributing to abnormalities of circadian rhythms and short sleep duration (SSD) in cross-sectional studies. Alcohol also increases breathing-related sleep events such as snoring and oxygen desaturation, especially in those with pre-existing problems.

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