How to sleep after drinking
- Give your body time to process the alcohol. It’s hard to say exactly how long it takes your body to metabolize alcohol, but the general rule of thumb is 1 hour for a standard drink.
- Go to the bathroom before bed.
- Stay away from fizzy drinks.
- Skip drinks with caffeine.
Is it good to lay down after drinking alcohol?
Frequently Asked Questions –
- Why does alcohol make you sleepy? Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, also called a sedative. Sedatives cause your brain activity to slow down and can make you feel relaxed. This may allow you to fall asleep more quickly, however it can greatly impact your sleep quality.
- How does alcohol disrupt your sleep? Alcohol may reduce REM sleep in the first half of the night, creating an imbalance in your sleep cycle. This can decrease your sleep quality and may lead to less sleep and more awakenings.
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Sleep Health Foundation. Caffeine, food, alcohol, smoking, and sleep.
- Simou E, Britton J, Leonardi-Bee J. Alcohol and the risk of sleep apnoea: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Sleep Med,2018;42:38–46. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2017.12.005
- Cederbaum AI. Alcohol metabolism, Clin Liver Dis,2012;16(4):667–685. doi:10.1016/j.cld.2012.08.002
- Sleep Foundation. Alcohol and sleep,
By Brandon Peters, MD Brandon Peters, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist. Thanks for your feedback!
Is it good to sleep when hungover?
How Do You Cure a Hangover Fast? – You may not be able to rid yourself of a hangover with the wave of a magic wand, but you can implement some expert-approved morning-after strategies to help you bounce back to life a little quicker. Here’s what experts say actually works when it comes to healing a dreaded hangover: 1.
Hydrate, eat right, and hydrate some more “The best way to reduce symptoms is to hydrate — drink plenty of water,” says Dr. Mariam Behbehani, an osteopathic primary care physician at One Medical in Irvine, CA. “Eat bland foods and avoid greasy, fatty foods.” If you’ve always relied on a burger and fries or another form of fast food to heal your hangover symptoms, you may want to rethink your strategy.
These are not the best foods for hangovers. “Greasy, fatty foods can actually worsen stomach discomfort,” says Dr. Behbehani. “It’s best to stick with bland foods such as toast, bread, and soups to help calm the stomach.” If a slice of dry toast doesn’t sound like the most appetizing post-drinking meal, naturopathic doctor, nurse practitioner, and health coach, Erica Matluck, has a few more palatable hangover food options to add to the menu.
“Rather than a greasy meal, which often makes us feel bad, focus on a well-balanced meal to support blood sugar levels and detoxification. For example, eggs, avocado, toast, fruit, and a glass of coconut water would be a great breakfast after a big night out,” says Matluck. “Low blood sugar can definitely make a hangover worse, so it makes sense to focus on well-balanced meals with adequate protein, fats, and carbs both before consuming alcohol and the morning after.” 2.
Avoid the temptation to chug coffee Plenty of people swear a heaping cup of coffee can cure their hangover, and while caffeine may help ease the severity of a headache, in other instances, it can actually exacerbate it. And because caffeine causes your blood pressure to rise and your blood vessels to narrow, it can actually make your other hangover symptoms worse.
- There are no evidence-based studies or research to suggest that drinking coffee will cure your hangover,” Dr.
- Behbehani says.
- If you’re a regular java drinker, however, you may be able to get away with sipping your usual morning elixir without feeling worse — just don’t depend on it to eliminate your icky feelings.
“It really depends on your relationship with caffeine on a regular basis, as well as a variety of other variables,” Matluck says. Instead of spending your cash on a Venti triple-shot latte, get an electrolyte-enhanced sports drink like Gatorade, which may help replace the salt and potassium you lose from drinking alcohol.3.
Exercise if you can handle it Yes, working out is a wonderful habit, but if you’re hungover, an intense sweat session may not help matters. “It really depends on a multitude of variables,” Matluck says. “Generally, exercise is a great way to detox. But if you’re already dehydrated and your exercise routine makes you sweat, it could make your symptoms worse.” However, if lying in bed all day is only making you feel more miserable, you don’t have to avoid movement completely.
Just take it easy and listen to your body — and be sure to follow step one and hydrate before you even attempt an activity. “I would recommend avoiding vigorous exercise with a hangover,” Dr. Behbehani says. “It’s probably best to do some light walking to help with circulation.” 4.
- Swap painkillers for sleep One dangerous, albeit common, mistake drinkers make when they’re hungover is reaching for a bottle of over-the-counter pain medication.
- That’s a major mistake that could cause serious damage, according to experts.
- If you are taking pain relievers — for example, Tylenol — and alcohol, that combination can be toxic to your liver,” Dr.
Behbehani says. “Aspirin and ibuprofen can also irritate the lining of the stomach. Use these medications with caution. Rather than attempting to medicate your symptoms away, the best thing you can do for a hangover is — you guessed it — sleep. Alcohol absolutely has an effect on sleep quality and duration, and while a bad night’s sleep doesn’t necessarily cause a hangover, it can definitely make it worse.
- Instead of attempting any of the strategies that supposedly help your body “detox” from a hangover (spoiler alert: most of those are made up), hit the sack early the day after drinking and implement sleep-hygiene tips to ensure you get the best rest possible.
- READ NEXT: How to Prevent a Hangover During Party Season ☾ If you found this article helpful, consider sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram or emailing it to any friends or family members who might benefit from a better night’s sleep.
Sharing is caring! Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based freelance journalist/marketing specialist/ghostwriter and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alum. She’s also served as a contributing editor and social media director at California Home + Design, senior writer at One Medical, and the Health and Wellness editor at Fitbit,
How long to go to bed after drinking?
1. Stop Drinking Alcohol at Least 4 Hours Before Bed – This is probably the most important tip to follow. If you limit your alcohol intake to four hours or more before bedtime, you allow your body plenty of time to metabolize the alcohol and get it out of your system. Once the alcohol is out of your system, you should be able to sleep normally and reduce your risk of poor sleep.
What should I take before bed after drinking?
4. Drink plenty of fluids – Alcohol is a diuretic, making you pee often, Therefore, it can contribute to dehydration, Although dehydration is not considered a main cause of hangovers, it may contribute to symptoms like thirst, headache, fatigue, and dry mouth.
Fortunately, dehydration is easy to avoid — just make sure to drink enough water, Drinking green tea, honey chrysanthemum tea, or soda water can boost alcohol metabolism and also prevent alcohol-related damage to the liver, according to a 2016 study ( 5 ). You should avoid drinking beverages such as fresh orange juice or energy drinks such as Red Bull along with alcohol because the combination could lead to ethanol-related liver damage, according to the same study.
A good rule is to drink a glass of water — or another non-alcoholic beverage — between drinks and to have at least one big glass of water before going to sleep. Summary Drinking plenty of water can help reduce some of the main symptoms of hangovers, including thirst and headache.
How do you prevent insomnia after drinking?
Alcohol and Sleep Medical Disclaimer: The content on this page should not be taken as medical advice or used as a recommendation for any specific treatment or medication. Always consult your doctor before taking a new medication or changing your current treatment.
- Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that causes brain activity to slow down.
- Alcohol has sedative effects that can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness, but the consumption of alcohol — especially in excess — has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.
- People with alcohol use disorders commonly experience insomnia symptoms.
Studies have shown that alcohol use can exacerbate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Drinking alcohol in moderation is generally considered safe but every individual reacts differently to alcohol. As a result, alcohol’s impact on sleep largely depends on the individual.
- After a person consumes alcohol, the substance is absorbed into their bloodstream Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats.
- From the stomach and small intestine.
- Enzymes in the liver eventually metabolize the alcohol, but because this is a fairly slow process, excess alcohol will continue to circulate through the body.
The effects of alcohol largely depend on the person. Important factors include the amount of alcohol and how quickly it is consumed, as well as the person’s age and body composition. The relationship between alcohol and sleep National Institutes of Health (NIH) The NIH, a part of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. has been studied since the 1930s, yet many aspects of this relationship are still unknown. Research has shown that those who drink large amounts of alcohol before bed are often prone to decreased sleep onset latency, meaning they take less time to fall asleep.
As liver enzymes metabolize the alcohol during the night and blood alcohol levels decrease, these individuals are also more likely to experience sleep disruptions and decreases in sleep quality. To understand how alcohol impacts sleep, it is important to understand the different stages of the human sleep cycle. A normal sleep cycle consists of : three non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stages and one rapid eye movement (REM) stage.
- Stage 1 (NREM) : This initial stage is the transition period between wakefulness and sleep, during which the body will begin to wind down. The sleeper’s heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements start to slow down and their muscles will relax. Brain activity also begins to decrease. This phase is also known as light sleep.
- Stage 2 (NREM) : The sleeper’s heartbeat and breathing rates continue to slow as they progress toward deeper sleep. Their body temperature will also decrease and the eyes become still. Stage 2 is usually the longest of the four sleep cycle stages.
- Stage 3 (NREM) : Heartbeat, breathing rates, and brain activity all reach their lowest levels of the sleep cycle. Eye movements cease and the muscles are totally relaxed. This stage is known as slow-wave sleep.
- REM : REM sleep begins about 90 minutes after the individual initially falls asleep. Eye movements will restart and the sleeper’s breathing rate and heartbeat will quicken. Dreaming primarily takes place during REM sleep. This stage is also thought to play a role in memory consolidation National Center for Biotechnology Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.,
These four NREM and REM stages repeat in cyclical fashion throughout the night. Each cycle should last roughly 90 to 120 minutes Merck Manual First published in 1899 as a small reference book for physicians and pharmacists, the Manual grew in size and scope to become one of the most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers.
Resulting in four to five cycles for every eight hours of sleep. For the first one or two cycles, NREM slow-wave sleep is dominant, whereas REM sleep typically lasts no longer than 10 minutes. For later cycles, these roles will flip and REM will become more dominant, sometimes lasting 40 minutes or longer without interruption.
NREM sleep will essentially cease during these later cycles. Drinking alcohol before bed can increase the suppression of REM sleep during the first two cycles. Since alcohol is a sedative, sleep onset is often shorter for drinkers and some fall into deep sleep rather quickly.
As the night progresses, this can create an imbalance between slow-wave sleep and REM sleep, resulting in less of the latter and more of the former. This imbalance decreases overall sleep quality, which can result in shorter sleep duration and more sleep disruptions., the most common sleep disorder, is marked by periods of difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Insomnia occurs despite the opportunity and desire to sleep, and leads to and other negative effects. Since alcohol can reduce REM sleep and cause sleep disruptions, people who drink before bed often experience insomnia symptoms and feel excessively sleepy National Center for Biotechnology Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
- The following day.
- This can lead them into a vicious cycle National Center for Biotechnology Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
- That consists of self-medicating with alcohol in order to fall asleep, consuming caffeine and other stimulants during the day to stay awake, and then using alcohol as a sedative to offset the effects of these stimulants.
Binge-drinking – consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time that results in a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher – can be particularly detrimental to sleep quality. In recent studies, people who took part in binge-drinking on a weekly basis were significantly more likely to have trouble falling and staying asleep.
These findings were true for both men and women. Similar trends were observed in adolescents and young adults National Center for Biotechnology Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information., as well as middle-aged and older adults National Center for Biotechnology Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
Researchers have noted a link between long-term alcohol abuse and chronic sleep problems. People can develop a tolerance for alcohol rather quickly, leading them to drink more before bed in order to initiate sleep. Those who have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorders frequently report insomnia symptoms.
- The Matt Walker Podcast SleepFoundation.org’s Scientific Advisor is a disorder characterized by abnormal breathing and temporary loss of breath during sleep.
- These lapses in breathing can in turn cause sleep disruptions and decrease sleep quality.
- Occurs due to physical blockages in the back of the throat, while occurs because the brain cannot properly signal the muscles that control breathing.
During apnea-related breathing episodes – which can occur throughout the night – the sleeper may make choking noises. People with sleep apnea are also prone to loud, disruptive snoring. Some studies suggest that alcohol contributes to sleep apnea because it causes the throat muscles to relax, which in turn creates more resistance during breathing.
- This can exacerbate OSA symptoms and lead to disruptive breathing episodes, as well as heavier snoring.
- Additionally, consuming just one serving of alcohol before bed can lead to symptoms of OSA and heavy snoring, even for people who have not been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
- The relationship between sleep apnea and alcohol has been researched fairly extensively.
The general consensus based on various studies is that consuming alcohol increases the risk of sleep apnea National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. Does Alcohol Help You Sleep? Alcohol may aid with sleep onset due to its sedative properties, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly. However, people who drink before bed often experience disruptions later in their sleep cycle as liver enzymes metabolize alcohol.
- 12 ounces of beer with 5% alcohol content
- 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol content
- 1 ounce of liquor or distilled spirits with 40% alcohol content
Moderate drinking is loosely defined as up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Heavy drinking means more than 15 drinks per week for men and more than eight drinks per week for women. Will a Small Amount of Alcohol Affect My Sleep? Drinking to excess will typically have a more negative impact on sleep than light or moderate alcohol consumption.
- However, since the effects of alcohol are different from person to person, even small amounts of alcohol can reduce sleep quality for some people.
- One 2018 study compared sleep quality National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
among subjects who consumed various amounts of alcohol.
- Low amounts of alcohol : Having fewer than two servings of alcohol per day for men or one serving per day for women decreased sleep quality by 9.3%.
- Moderate amounts of alcohol : Having two servings of alcohol per day for men or one serving per day for women decreased sleep quality by 24%.
- High amounts of alcohol : Having more than two servings of alcohol per day for men or one serving per day for women decreased sleep quality by 39.2%.
When Should I Stop Drinking Prior To Bed To Minimize Sleep Disruption? You can manage the negative effects of alcohol on sleep by giving your body ample time to metabolize alcohol before falling asleep. To reduce the risk of sleep disruptions, you should stop drinking alcohol at least four hours National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
- Centers for Disease Control. (2020, January 15). Alcohol and Public Health: Frequently Asked Questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., Retrieved February 6, 2023, from
- Roehrs, T., & Roth, T. Sleep, Sleepiness, and Alcohol Use. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism., Retrieved February 6, 2023, from
- Rasch, B., & Born, J. (2013). About Sleep’s Role in Memory. Physiological Reviews, 93(2), 681–766.
- Schwab, R. (2020, June). Insomnia and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS). Merck Manual Consumer Version., Retrieved February 6, 2023, from
- Park, S., Oh, M., Lee, B., Kim, H., Lee, W., Lee, J., Lim, J., & Kim, J. (2015). The Effects of Alcohol on Quality of Sleep. Korean Journal of Family Medicine, 36(6), 294–299.
- Coltrain, I., Nicholas, C., & Baker, F. (2018). Alcohol and the Sleeping Brain. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 125, 415–431., Retrieved from
- Popovici, I., & French, M. (2013). Binge Drinking and Sleep Problems among Young Adults. Drug and Alcohol Independence, 132, 207–215.
- Canham, S., Kaufmann, C., Mauro, P., Mojtabai, R., & Spira, A. (2015). Binge Drinking and Insomnia in Middle-aged and Older Adults: The Health and Retirement Study. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 30(3), 284–291.
- Simou, E., Britton, J., & Leonardi-Bee, J. (2018). Alcohol and the risk of sleep apnoea: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine, 42, 38–46.
- Pietilä, J., Helander, E., Korhonen, I., Myllymäki, T., Kujala, U., & Lindholm, H. (2018). Acute Effect of Alcohol Intake on Cardiovascular Autonomic Regulation During the First Hours of Sleep in a Large Real-World Sample of Finnish Employees: Observational Study. JMIR Mental Health, 5(1), e23.
- Stein, M.D., & Friedmann, P.D. (2005). Disturbed sleep and its relationship to alcohol use. Subst Abuse, 26(1):1-13.
: Alcohol and Sleep