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Sleep science

How does alcohol affect sleep?

Alcohol tends to make us feel sleepy in the first instance so you might find in the first hour after having a glass of wine you can feel very sleepy. 

Unfortunately, some people have tried to use alcohol to fix their insomnia. 

The problem is that after a while your body metabolises that alcohol. When your body does that it gives you a wake rebound so as soon as you’ve metabolised it, you’ll be more awake.

What you might find is either you wake up in the second half of the night and you can’t get back to sleep or the quality of your sleep is poor in the second half of the night. 

“Alcohol will affect the quality of your sleep and it will also affect the architecture of your sleep.”

Chronic alcohol users – alcoholics or functional alcoholics, will not be getting as much REM sleep. REM is a stage of sleep that you need for psychological consolidation and memory consolidation. 

Mental health effects 

We’ve noticed that alcoholics or functioning alcoholics tend to suffer with more mental health issues. It’s important that you don’t use alcohol to try to sleep because in the long term it will actually stop you from sleeping. 

Even in the very short term, for example the first hour, it feels like it is helping you sleep. It works a bit like sleeping pills in that eventually as you get used to alcohol you need to use more and more to get that first hour of sleepiness.