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Alcohol‘s Negative Impact on Sleep

Individuals will often become desperate when they begin to experience persistent problems with sleeping. Alcohol is something people will turn to when having trouble sleeping as it is known to have a sedating effect. However, most people do not realize the negative implications of using alcohol to try to get better sleep.

Alcohol is very disruptive to sleep. Drinking alcohol before bed significantly reduces the quality of sleep, more specifically by reducing the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) one is getting. Alcohol is also a diuretic that increases awakenings in the middle of the night due to need to use the bathroom.

Ultimately alcohol use interferes with the body’s sleep homeostasis, which regulates sleep. Alcohol is metabolized and then withdrawals from your body while you are sleeping. As this happens, individuals tend to wake more and REM sleep is reduced. Thus, the overall quality of sleep is reduced as sleep is interrupted. Subsequently, dreams are often reduced with nighttime alcohol use. It is also not uncommon to wake earlier in the morning than expected after a night of drinking.

If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, alcohol is not the right solution. Call Bluepoint Medical Associates today at 703-385-8222 and talk to one of our sleep specialists to determine what is keeping you from sleeping. These factors can be addressed with individualized treatments, including evidence-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).

Authored by: Lauren King, PsyD

Licensed Clinical Psycologist, CBT-I Provider

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