Many people who consume alcohol regularly say it helps them sleep. Unfortunately, that is not true; alcohol has the opposite effect. The reason why they don’t know their alcohol use disorder is affecting their sleep is that they don’t always realize it.
Ways Alcohol Use Disorders Affect Sleep
The following are just some of the ways alcohol influences sleep in ways that people don’t fully realize. Let’s explore how alcohol use disorders impact sleep.
Sleep Rhythm Disruption
Studies have found that drinking alcohol before bed can lead to slow-wave sleep patterns (delta activity). This means that people do not get as much deep sleep as they should, and that can affect memory formation and learning.
Alpha activity, which is another type of brain pattern, is also affected. This activity should only happen when people rest, but when people consume alcohol, it happens while sleeping. This keeps the brain from entering restorative sleep, which is why many people who drink before bed often don’t wait up rested.
Interrupts Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural timing for sleep. When people drink alcohol, their circadian rhythm can become interrupted. While they get tired very quickly and fall asleep, the chemicals that induce that feeling plummet shortly afterward. This makes people wake up before they are completely rested.
Blocks REM Sleep
REM sleep is highly important – it’s restorative sleep. Without enough restorative sleep through REM sleep, people don’t recover from the day before. This can cause them to have concentration problems, memory difficulties, and even suffer from impaired fine motor skills.
Alcohol is a depressant, so it makes the body relax and that includes the throat. While this may sound like a good thing, it’s not. It can lead to snoring and sleep apnea, which seriously disrupts sleep.
Increased Urination Frequency
As anyone who consumes alcoholic beverages knows, it can lead to many more bathroom visits. This means interrupted sleep and less sleep overall.
Improve Your Sleep by Treating Your Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorders are detrimental to people’s health in many ways. One of those ways is by affecting the quality and quantity of sleep. If you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder, consider getting help. Not only will you have more control over your life when you don’t feel dependent on alcohol anymore, but you’ll sleep better, too.