Can Alcohol Really Impair Your Sleep and Cause Insomnia?

Alcohol and Sleep 

Drinking alcohol can make you feel drowsy and fall asleep quicker but did you know that alcohol can rob you from getting a good night’s rest?  Researchers have found that alcohol consumption before bedtime can reduce and harm quality and restorative sleep.

Alcohol Interferes with Sleep Homeostasis

Sleep homeostasis is our body’s balance mechanism that tells us when we need to go to sleep after being awake for a certain period during the day. Sleep homeostasis is our body’s built-in clock that regulates when we should fall asleep and for how long. Alcohol interferes with sleep homeostasis by forcing the body to fall asleep. When this occurs, our internal built-in clock is altered causing us to wake up in the middle of the night or wake up too early in the morning before we are fully rested.

Alcohol Harms REM Sleep

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) usually occurs after 90 minutes of falling asleep and is the period when we start dreaming. REM is believed to be the stage when our body begins to mentally restore itself.  Alcohol disrupts REM sleep causing daytime drowsiness, grogginess and poor concentration.

Link between Alcohol and Sleep Apnea

Alcohol causes the throat muscles to relax which can increase the risk of snoring and sleep apnea. Alcohol can also pause our natural ability to breathe during sleep.  Sleep apnea is defined as a disorder which causes you to have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of REM.

As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness and is a serious medical condition that if not treated can have serious complications to your health such as increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Bathroom Trips

Alcohol is a diuretic which urges the body to go to the bathroom even when you are asleep. When alcohol is not in the equation, our body naturally knows when we are asleep and buts the bladder on do not disturb mode.

Alcohol as a Sleep Aid?

Do not use alcohol as a sleep aid as it can potentially have long-term effects. If you are experiencing trouble falling or staying asleep, there might be a possibility that you could be suffering from a sleep disorder. Talk to your primary care physician or call us at 773.296.5500 to schedule an appointment with a board-certified sleep specialist.

ChicagoENT World-Renowned Sleep Experts Can Help

Referring physicians trust ChicagoENT and Sleep Center to care for their patients than any other Chicagoland practice. For over 30 years our board-certified, skilled and fellowship trained physicians have been providing pediatric and adult patients with diagnosis and comprehensive treatment options that are innovative, non-and minimally invasive. In fact, physicians at ChicagoENT and Sleep Center helped pioneer non-invasive treatments that are available and being performed today.

Chicago Sleep Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). This accreditation assures the highest quality level of care by specially trained physicians and sleep technicians who rigorously follow evidence-based protocols for evaluating and treating sleep disorder patients.

Don’t trust your sleep to anyone else. let us help you get the good night’s rest you’ve been dreaming about. We offer 10 convenient Chicagoland locations with private, luxurious hotel amenities, and in-home testing available. To make an appointment to see one of our sleep medical specialists call, 773.296.5500 or call, 773.262.4110 to make an appointment for a sleep study. You can also schedule online 24/7 by simply clicking here!