Sleep and alcohol

Having a drink or two before bed to help induce sleep is one of the worst things you can do.  Alcohol consumption can result in a significant disruption to normal sleep.

Although alcohol can initially contribute to drowsiness and sleep for some people, as your body metabolizes alcohol there is an opposite and stimulating rebound effect in a few hours.  As anyone who’s ever had a more than a few drinks can attest, it’s not at all unusual to wake up uncomfortably after only a few brief hours of sleep.  And it’s not just because of persistent bladder pressure.

Alcohol inhibits the enzyme that allows your body to store water, which is one reason for more frequent urination.  So not only does alcohol increase the pressure on your bladder while sleeping, it often dehydrates you in the process.  A dry mouth and dehydration headache is a common result from drinking, two symptoms often associated with a hangover.

Alcohol initially works to depress the central nervous system.  But the corresponding rebound commonly results in waking up from a deep sleep too soon, sometimes wide awake in the middle of the night.  The remaining sleep that night is typically more fragmented and less restful than normal.

For the above reasons, we suggest under no circumstance should you allow yourself to get into a normal routine or habit of having a drink before bed to fall asleep. 

The key to responsible use of alcohol is, as always, moderation.  For more information and tips on creating an optimal sleep environment, see the “Sleep Hygiene” section of the Sleep Training System.

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One Comment on “Sleep and alcohol”


  1. […] sleep training also includes sleep hygiene.  Using this method you’ll learn how to lead a healthy sleep-supportive lifestyle, including […]


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