Going out with friends and drinking in moderation can lead to unforgettable memories. But it can be troubling when someone in the group starts drinking too much too often. Especially if they do this to cope with stress. Then, they run the risk of developing alcoholism.

There are many negative effects the body goes through when dealing with alcoholism. We know most of the negatives of drinking too much, like slurred speech and liver damage.

But one side effect most people don’t know is that consuming high amounts of alcohol can affect your sleep.

Lack of sleep can lead to other physical and mental issues and affect your quality of life. Even though many people fall asleep when they drink a little too much, here are some of the ways alcoholism can affect your sleep.

  1. Does Alcohol Affect Sleep?

Everyone processes alcohol differently based on their size, build, and tolerance. Overall, the liver metabolizes alcohol relatively slowly. This process can continue in the body for a while after someone falls asleep.

Research shows that people who drink large amounts of alcohol before bed need more time to fall asleep. And when that person does finally get to sleep, the liver is still working to metabolize the alcohol.

The metabolizing process can lead to many disruptions in sleep throughout the night. And, you guessed it, the more your sleep is disrupted, the worse your quality of sleep is.

Even though alcohol is a depressant that makes some people fall asleep faster, someone struggling with alcoholism can have a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep.

2. Can Alcoholism Lead to Insomnia?

Many people who experience insomnia may use small amounts of alcohol to help them fall asleep. But this is not a good habit.

Over time, your body builds up a tolerance to these small amounts of alcohol. This leads to people needing more and more alcohol to fall asleep, and the trick loses all effectiveness.

On the other side, heavy drinking can actually end up causing insomnia. An estimated 36-91% of people struggling with alcoholism have also reported dealing with insomnia. Insomnia isn’t just having a hard time sleeping. It is a sleep condition that can negatively impact your day-to-day life.

Being sleepy during the day can lead to decreased attention and concentration. Dealing with chronic insomnia has also been linked to higher rates of depression, heart attacks, and hypertension.

Not to mention those that struggle with insomnia are at higher risk for accidents in their home, workplace, or while driving.

3. Does Alcoholism Cause Other Sleep Disorders?

Yes! Other sleep disorders that have been linked to alcoholism include sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when there is a physical blockage in the back of the throat or when the brain doesn’t properly signal the muscles that control breathing while you’re asleep.

When someone is dealing with alcoholism, they may experience sleep apnea since their muscles are more relaxed from their increased alcohol intake.

When the throat muscles relax, it can make it harder to breathe throughout the night. Drinking alcohol often can increase your risk of sleep apnea by 25%!

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4. Getting Help for Alcoholism and Sleep

Many people turn to alcohol as a sleep aid, but when you use this trick too often, it can be easy to rely on alcohol for sleep and fall into a pattern of addiction. You could even be doing more damage to yourself by drinking heavily and disrupting your sleep.

When people are struggling with alcoholism, one of the hardest parts of recovery is taking that first step: asking for help.

Once you or a loved one makes that first call, you can be sure to have a second chance waiting for you on the other side of your recovery.

If you are looking for a way to beat your addiction or help a loved one, contact Hollywood Hills Recovery. Hollywood Hills Recovery is a premier and private substance abuse treatment, and recovery center nestled in the hills of Los Angeles.


Alcoholism can lead to many health issues including sleep problems. Everyone struggles to sleep from time to time, but prolonged sleep issues can negatively affect someone’s day-to-day life.

When relying on alcohol, a person can damage their health with poor sleep quality. Sleep is necessary for the body and mind so you can rest, recover and be ready for the day. When you or a loved one relies on alcohol, you can be doing much more harm to your sleep, your health, and your life.

Once you take that first step towards recovery, you’re finally on the path to helping yourself and getting a good night’s sleep.