Questions and answers on alcohol and sleep
Is alcohol a good way to get a better sleep?
– No, on the contrary, the alcohol can not be used to improve night sleep. Although the amount of time it takes to fall asleep is slightly reduced, the alcohol distrurbs the normal sleep cycle. Sleep is often anxious, REM sleep, when we dream, decreases, and alcohol interferes with the important recovery of the body and brain.
Can the alcohol make it easier to fall asleep in the evening?
– Yes, but it’s a dangerous way to go. Alcohol has a dampening effect on the central nervous system and can reduce sleep delay, which makes it faster to go to sleep than normal, but when the alcohol is broken down, a recoil effect takes place, stressing the body and the brain. Many wake up in the small hours and it can be difficult to fall asleep again. If I start relying on alcohol to go to sleep, I will over time need more alcohol to achieve that effect because there is a tolerance increase. In the long term, it can lead to an addictive development.
Are sleep problems common with people who drink a lot?
– Yes, it’s one of the most common symptoms of high alcohol consumption. Here it may be important to stress that this relationship is often not clear to the drinker. Many think they need the alcohol to be able to sleep and can´t see that it’s the alcohol that makes sleep so bad.
Almost everyone I meet who has alcohol problems is sleeping poorly and is often worried about how to cope without alcohol but an absolute majority usually experiences a significantly improved sleep after just a few weeks of sobriety.
What else can you do to fall asleep more easily and get a good sleep quality?
– This is not really my area of expertise, but I will try to come up with some simple tips.
- Make sure that the bedroom is cool, quiet and dark.
- Go to bed at approximately the same time every night.
- Try to settle down a few hours before going to bed, avoid using a computer or a mobile.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid alcohol, coffee, and nicotine, especially the hours closest to your bedtime.
- Take a bath or a warm shower in the evening.
Can a good sleep increase the prerequisites for not getting an addictive disorder?
– I don´t think there is such a connection. Possibly if I have knowledge that alcohol is impairing sleep and therefore avoid alcohol.
Alcohol dependence is a lifestyle-related illness where the risk arises in a combination of our genetic disposition and how much we drink.
If I were to sleep well despite a high alcohol consumption, it would not protect me from developing an addiction.