Hangover Blog

How Does Alcohol Affect sleep?

by Brendon Chrus on Feb 02, 2022

How Does Alcohol Affect sleep?

Good morning! We assume you are reading this from the comfort of your bed, having awoken from a night of drinking alcohol feeling tired and fatigued? Well you are not alone.  Unfortunately insufficient sleep is common and does affect the quality of our lives.

So why does alcohol affect your sleep and why do you wake up feeling tired? 

Researchers have found that the sedative effects of alcohol are beneficial for the first hours of sleep but have a disruptive effect on the later hours of sleep.  There are many negative effects of drinking alcohol and waking up feeling hungover but one of the most common is feeling drowsier than usual, as if you didn't sleep at all.  This is primarily because alcohol reduces REM sleep, which is often considered the most mentally restorative sleep.  

According to the National Sleep Foundation, an additional explanation for poor sleep after drinking is that the production of adenosine (a chemical in the brain that acts as a sleep-inducer) increases while drinking, allowing you to go to sleep quickly — however, this chemical quickly subsides, making you more likely to wake up throughout the night. 

Drinking alcohol before you sleep also causes two brain wave activities at the same time which inhibits the quality of rest. These are slow-wave sleep patterns called delta activities and alpha activity which is waves to indicate wakefulness with eyes closed (a wave experienced in the lead up to sleep) 

Please note: Intended for educational and informative purposes only and not intended to serve as medical or professional advice. For medical attention or advice you should consult your physician or other health care professional.