R.K. Tripathi

Alcohol and Insomnia: How Alcohol Affects Sleep

Insomnia is a very common withdrawal symptom among individuals who are in detox for alcohol or other drug abuse, as their mind, body and spirit are slowly readjusting to not having mood-altering chemicals in their body. Sleep problems can persist for weeks, months, or even years, which can lead to increased anxiety, tiredness, poor concentration, low enthusiasm and irritability. More concerning is that persistent insomnia, especially if left untreated, can interfere with one’s recovery and contribute to relapse. Fortunately, insomnia usually diminishes over time; however, there are many coping skills one can practice in order to improve their sleep by implementing healthy sleep habits. The daytime sleepiness as measured by the Epworth scores was lower in the high-dose gabapentin group when compared with the lorazepam group. Although the follow-up period was short, the authors did comment on the probability of patients returning to heavy drinking.

The zopiclone group showed significant improvements in daytime mood and behavior and were reporting more attentiveness and being more alert. Insomnia is a common problem for many adults, but it is not uncommon to experience it in the short-term and long-term after quitting drinking. It is characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, which can lead to daytime drowsiness, trouble concentrating, and other negative health effects. Insomnia is very common in alcohol recovery and is a robust predictor of relapse.

Why Do I Get Sleepy After Eating?

In addition to the electrophysiologic mechanisms of sleep, Borbely and colleagues postulated a two-process model of sleep regulation (Borbely, 1982). In brief, this model posits that sleep is a function of two independent mechanisms, namely homeostatic sleep drive and circadian rhythmicity. https://ecosoberhouse.com/ A mismatch between the normally synergistic circadian and homeostatic mechanisms may also lead to circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Earlier research into orexin’s sleep-blocking effects spurred the creation of anti-orexin insomnia medications, three of which have been approved by the U.S.

  • Get professional help from an online addiction and mental health counselor from BetterHelp.
  • This association may be secondary to subjects self-medicating their insomnia with alcohol (Kaneita et al., 2007, Ancoli-Israel and Roth, 1999, Johnson et al., 1998).
  • Controversy about the effect of a drug is not unusual in the scientific literature.
  • People experiencing insomnia long after the acute withdrawal phase may be experiencing post-acute withdrawal syndrome.

However, gabapentin was administered in three divided doses over the day rather than as a single dose at night. A small, placebo-controlled trial of 16 patients following detoxification and a 2-week washout period revealed an improvement in some polysomnographic (PSG) sleep measures (Le Bon et al., 2003). Trazodone was started at 50 mg and gradually increased alcoholic insomnia to a dose of 200 mg. A polysomnogram was performed on Days 1, 2 (prior to receiving trazodone), Day 3 (first dose of trazodone, 50 mg) and on Day 28. Trazodone is a sedating antidepressant which acts predominantly on the serotonergic system. It is one of the most commonly prescribed sleep aids in patients with alcohol dependence (Friedmann et al., 2003).

Coping With Alcohol-Related Sleep Problems

Consuming alcohol and experiencing restricted sleep reduces alertness during the day. Alcohol can increase the quantity of non-REM sleep during the first half of the night, but it decreases REM sleep in the second half. If you’re turning to alcohol to help you sleep, you may be making the quality of your sleep worse.

Therefore, the aim of the current clinical trial is to investigate the possibility of the use of a safer treatment, such as the natural health product melatonin, to treat alcohol-related sleeping problems. Sixty treatment-seeking AUD subjects were assigned to melatonin (5 mg) or placebo for 4 weeks of treatment. Change in sleeping quality which is the primary outcome of the study was assessed using the Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) scale. Linear mixed models were used to statistically analyze the difference in scores before and after 4 weeks of treatment. There was a reduction in the global PSQI score in both groups with no significant drug effect between groups.

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