Sleep After Drinking

Edited by Train Wreck, Eng, Inukshuk, VisiHow

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Trying to fall asleep after drinking too much alcohol can be easy, but you won't sleep well. Even though it's easy to get a drunk person to sleep, the fact is that drinking too much wine, beer, or spirits can leave you in a state where you either can't sleep, or don't sleep well. This is because alcohol causes your mind to stay active, even while you're sleeping. The end result is poor sleep for drunk people, and often waking up earlier than they otherwise would have.

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Get Sleep When You're Drunk

In this article we'll provide some tips to help you sleep when you're drunk. They won't necessarily help you sleep well, but they should let you get a little better rest than you otherwise would. Follow the steps below to get a better night's sleep if you've had too much alcohol.

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  1. 1
    Don't have any caffeine
    If you're planning a night of drinking, make sure you stay away from energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster. Don't have any coffee, tea, or sodas either. All of these things will work to keep you awake even when you want to sleep. If you drink responsibly, which you should, then you'll plan in advance to avoid caffeine when drinking alcohol.
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  2. 2
    Make a list of things bothering you
    This may sound silly, but it isn't. If you have things that are worrying you, then your mind will work on them while you try to sleep. This may keep you awake. By making a list of what's bothering you, you'll be able to put it out of your mind until morning. This will help you get to sleep easier.
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  3. 3
    Drink earlier in the day
    Surprisingly, the different phases of the body determine the effects of alcohol to a much larger degree than previously thought. Studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)[1] have shown that alcohol can actually wake you up more the later it is consumed, versus making a person more tired if it is consumed earlier. There are also other factors, such as how long a person has been awake, but as a rule, consuming alcohol in the middle of the day is more likely to make you drowsy than it is later in the night. In fact, the study showed that alcohol given to a person at 04:00 in the morning was more likely to wake them up than to help them sleep.
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  4. 4
    Stop drinking a few hours before you plan to sleep
    According to Psychology Today[2], a person who has been drinking alcohol will feel more alert and awake than a person who has not. However, as the alcohol leaves their system, they will quickly become sleepier than a person who has not been drinking. This is what has led to the mistaken belief that alcohol helps you sleep. People who drink during happy hour, and then go to bed a few hours later do get to sleep faster. The problem is that they don't get more restful sleep.
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  1. 1
    Exercise or hit the gym in the morning, long before you plan to go out drinking
    Alternatively you can read for an hour or two. For most of us, our jobs either leave us physical or mentally tired, but rarely both. This can lead to difficulty falling asleep later. We are either not physically tired, or not mentally tired. Balancing out the body before drinking means you'll be fully tired when you finally do get to bed. This will help you to sleep better. Just don't mix alcohol and exercise. It's a dangerous combination.
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  2. 2
    Sleep in a cool room, or open a window
    If you sleep in a cooler environment, your sleep will be more restful. This will help combat the biphasic nature of alcohol sleep, where you have both alpha (awake) and beta (asleep) waves running through your brain.
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Tips and Suggestions

  • Don't expect to sleep late. The body is much more likely to wake up early after a night of drinking. This is because alcohol suppresses parts of the brain that then later come awake while you're sleeping. As a result, sleep is disturbed, so if you wake up early and can't fall back asleep, it's normal. The only solution is to drink less the next time.
  • Don't smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant, and will keep you awake rather than help you sleep. Smoking more means you'll be more awake. If you're having trouble not smoking, or want to stop, then read our article series on how to quit smoking for more help.
  • Turn phones and alarms off. The last thing you want to do is get a text message or have an alarm wake you up when you could have slept another hour or two. Make sure you've turned off your alarms and can get as much sleep as possible.


  1. National Institutes of Health
  2. Psychology Today

See more related tutorials: Treat Alcohol Poisoning, Drink on Antibiotics, Drink Alcohol and Exercise, Get Rid of Alcohol Breath, Be a Designated Driver, DUI Fines, Drink Responsibly, Determine If You Have Alcohol Poisoning, Drink Without Getting Drunk, Eat Before You Drink Alcohol, Get Help with a Drinking Problem, and Drink Alcohol.

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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Inukshuk, Eng, Train Wreck

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