Mixing Alcohol and Sleep Animation
Sleep and Alcohol Animation Mobile

Does Alcohol Affect Sleep?
What You Need to Know Before Bed

Disclaimer – Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment… Read More Here.

Sleeplessness, insomnia, poor sleep health. Whatever you want to call it, it’s hard to deny the exhausting epidemic affecting millions of people all over the world. People, as a whole, are getting less rest and are desperately turning to pills or other aids as a result.


Along with prescription medications and folk remedies, many have incorporated a glass or two of alcohol into their nightly routine to try to catch a few more hours of shuteye. But does this method really work.

In two separate studies, up to 28% of people said they use alcohol to help them fall asleep.
[1] Substance Abuse

Despite what many believe, that nightcap might be destroying the quality of your ZZZs because…

Section 1

Deceptively Drowsy

Section 2

Ways Alcohol Disrupts Your Sleep

Section 3

What Alcohol Does to Your Sleep Cycle

Section 4

Gender and Alcohol

Section 5

Frequently Asked Questions

Section 6

Tips on Being More Sleep Responsible With Drinks

Section 7

Better Sleep Aids

Illustration of a Man at the Bar and Drinking a Lot of Beer

Deceptively Drowsy

Alcohol makes you fall asleep faster, which some people think is a benefit. But they end up with lower quality rest. [2]
Illustration of a Drunk Man Falling Asleep
You could be waking up through the night and not remember the next morning. But you’ll feel more tired, for sure. [3]
Alcohol changes brain activity during your night spent asleep, resulting in a less restful experience. [1]
There is often an increase in deep sleep in the first half of the night, but people experience disruptions in the latter half. [2]
Some alcohol drinkers wake up earlier and have trouble falling back asleep. [3]
Illustration of a Wasted Man Falling Ofd the Bed
Drunk Man Fell Off The Bed-Mobile

Ways Alcohol Disrupts Your Night

More Bathroom Breaks

Drinking before bed means your liver works overtime to rid the body of toxins. Requiring you to make more bathroom trips in the middle of the night. [1]

Night Sweats

Alcohol can make you feel like you are warmer than you actually are, potentially heightening cold-weather-related dangers. [4]
Binge-drinking or hangovers can affect the natural balance of hormones, causing hot flashes. [4]
Night Sweat Illustration
The brain, heart, and liver contribute greatly to overall body heat. When the liver kicks into overdrive working through alcoholic toxins, the body’s temperature can rise. [4]

Sleep Apnea

People who drink are more likely to snore! Alcohol relaxes muscles in the throat, making snoring and sleep apnea more of a concern. [1]
Drunk Man Sleeping In a Coctail Glass

Deep Dive: What Alcohol Does to Your Sleep Cycle

Alcohol and REM

Drinking before bed can also interfere with REM  and your body’s natural circadian rhythm. [1]
The higher the amount consumed, the more disrupted REM can become. [2]
REM begins much later no matter the amount of alcohol consumed. [2]

More Vivid Dreams

Alcohol may cause some sleepers to reenact their dreams in their sleep. People can walk, talk, and perform actions without actually knowing what is going on. [5]
Illustration of a Man Sleepwalking
Drinking can cause dreams to feel more real and vivid… but be careful! This also affects how real nightmares can feel! [5]
Some experience night terrors after drinking before bed. [5]
Wasted Woman Sleeping on the Floor Illustration

Gender and Alcohol

Women are more likely to experience sleep disruption after drinking than men. [6]
One study showed women slept an average of 20 minutes less than men who drank the same amount. [6]
Illustration of Drinking Draft Beer
Drinking Draft Beer Illustration

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Alcoholics Often Experience Insomnia?

Falling Asleep Drunk In the Bar Illustration
People who binge-drink generally feel more tired the next day, leading them to drink more to try to fall asleep, creating a cycle. [7]
Even just a moderate amount of alcohol an hour before bed can reduce melatonin levels by up to 20%. [3]
Research shows the sleep-regulating chemicals in mice are altered by a single binge-drinking session. [7]

Is Mixing Alcohol with Sleeping Aids Dangerous?

4% of adults have admitted to overusing prescribed sleep aids, according to a survey by the CDC. [8]
Hand Full of Medications Illustration
Combining sleeping pills and alcohol can increase the sedative effects of both substances. [8]
People are at an increased danger of overdosing or experiencing blackouts when combining the two. [8]
Difficulty breathing, a slower heart rate, and lower blood pressure can all be caused by mixing sleeping aids with alcohol. [8]
Woman Rejecting Coctail Illustation
Saying No To Alcohol Illustration

Tips on Being More Sleep Responsible With Drinks

Give yourself a 3-hour window between your last drink and bedtime. [9]
Women and men over 65 years old should limit their intake to 1 drink a day. Men under 65 can consume 2 drinks a day without harming their sleep quality. [9]
Drinking 2 glasses of water for every 1 glass of alcohol consumed will help the body flush out toxins before sleep, not during. [10]
Fizzy Drinks
Fizzy drinks can distend the stomach, causing you to absorb more alcohol and heightening the side effects. Cut back on the bubbles! [10]
illustration of a Bubble Bath

Better Sleep Aids

Hot Tea

In a 2011 study, people who drank passionflower herbal tea showed significantly improved rest quality over people who drank a placebo. [11]

Hot Bath

Multiple studies have shown taking a warm bath or shower around 90 minutes before bed increases and improves deep sleep. [12]

Blue Light

Reducing exposure to blue light through filters and specially coated glasses can improve your time asleep drastically. [13]
Sleep Advisor