If you decide to quit drinking altogether, one of the first things you'll notice is an improvement in your energy levels, better sleep, and an easier time waking up in the morning. Alcohol can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your sleep, making you feel tired and sluggish during the day. Even if you stop drinking, you may still experience sleep problems for years afterwards. Drinking three or more drinks can make the average person fall asleep faster than usual, according to Shawn R.
Currie from the University of Calgary. However, this is the only real benefit of alcohol for sleep. Once your body has developed a physical dependence on alcohol, withdrawal symptoms will occur when you stop drinking, including insomnia and other sleep disturbances. After a week of not consuming alcohol, you may find that your sleep has improved.
When you drink, you usually fall straight into deep sleep and miss out on the important rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The average person should have between six and seven REM sleep cycles per night, but when drinking heavily this is usually reduced to one or two. It's important to accept that you may be more tired than usual when you first stop drinking. Make sure to listen to your body and get plenty of rest.
Start embracing your night-time and create new routines that make you feel special. After three months of sobriety, you should start to notice a change in your energy levels. Alcohol can cause drowsiness at first, but it can also wake you up repeatedly during the night and interfere with breathing. It's best to avoid drinking late in the afternoon or at dusk so that you can get a better night's sleep. Sleep problems can contribute to irritability, anxiety, and depression, which can be especially difficult for people in recovery. Studies have shown that people who drink and have sleep apnea are at much higher risk of traffic accidents than those with sleep apnea who don't drink alcohol.
Alcohol can cause insomnia because it damages sleep cycles and circadian rhythm. Laboratory studies have found reductions in deep sleep and REM sleep abnormalities in people with more than one year of sobriety. The important REM stage of sleep is what is known as “restful sleep” when the body repairs itself and improves functions. Drinking before bedtime can interrupt this cycle and cause more long-term sleep problems such as insomnia or alcohol addiction. If you're having trouble quitting drinking, it may be worth seeking support.