Alcohol consumption is widespread in the United States. Used frequently as a way to relax and unwind, drinking is a common go-to for a night out, a relaxing dinner, or just a way to kickback before bed. Its sedative effects make it ideal for a nightcap, helping many people to nod off soundlessly. However, there are some adverse effects to consuming alcohol to aid sleep, many of which people are blithely unaware of. We’re discussing the alcohol rebound effect and why consuming it for sleep purposes might not be such a great idea.
Moderate to excessive alcohol consumption can cause significant health issues. Research has found that problems of sleep and anxiety are closely correlated to the effects of alcohol. While alcohol is widely regarded as a way to relax, it’s toxic components may be doing more harm than good, especially concerning REM sleep cycles.
If you or someone you love is using alcohol to help with sleep or anxiety issues, it’s important they seek help. Alcohol abuse can quickly cascade into addiction, or alcohol use disorder. For more information contact us directly at 855-281-5588.
Alcohol Affects Sleep
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links excessive alcohol use to appropriately 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2011 to 2015, shortening lives by an average of 29 years.
The effects of alcohol are extensive, from short-term harmful health conditions and an increased risk of accidents to long-term diseases like cancer, dementia, sleep disorders, and more. What is the alcohol rebound effect and how does it correspond with sleep conditions?
Alcohol & Sleep
There are four significant stages of sleep. The first is characterized as non-REM which is essentially the moment of transition between wakefulness and sleep. The second stage is light non-REM sleep, which is the stage just before you get into a deep sleep where your heart rate and body begin to slow down. Stage 3 of non-REM sleep is the stage of restorative sleep which is critical for rejuvenating the body. During the first half of stage 3, we should experience longer periods of this deep restorative sleep. The deep sleep then lessens as we approach morning. The final stage of sleep is stage 4 which is REM sleep. REM sleep is critical for re-energizing the mind as the heart-rate increases.
Studies show that alcohol consumption has significant effects that interfere with the body’s circadian rhythms. Doing so can lead to critical effects that result in a disruption of important bodily functions.
A significant effect that alcohol has on the body is its effect of suppressing melatonin. Melatonin has an essential role to play in regulating and aiding the balance of the body’s sleep-wake cycle as it works to promote a night of more restful sleep.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, studies found that even moderate doses of alcohol consumption in the evening resulted in a suppression of melatonin. The effects of this can lead to the body becoming out of sync as it interferes with the circadian rhythm.
The regular consumption of alcohol can really interrupt your sleep cycle which can become a catalyst for a host of other issues that can impact your physical and mental well being. The disruption of sleep can result in feeling tired, fatigued, and irritable. It can also drastically affect your mood, motivation, and performance.
Consuming alcohol may help you get to sleep more quickly as it reduces the time it takes for you to get to sleep. For many, the sedative effects of alcohol may be what they’re looking for as a sleep aid. However, there is a high risk of becoming tolerant to the sedative effects of alcohol. Becoming tolerant to its effect can become a catalyst for becoming dependent as many begin to increase their consumption in order to achieve the sleep-inducing effect.
Alcohol Rebound Effect: Links With Anxiety
The disruption of the sleep cycle caused by alcohol consumption can be characterized by the alcohol rebound effect. The alcohol rebound effect is the process where the second half of the night which is critical to restoration and re-energizing is disrupted as the alcohol within the body is metabolized and its sedative effects begin to wear off. This disruption of the sleep cycle causes an imbalance in the circadian rhythm which impacts not only the quality of sleep but also the ability of your body to function properly the next day. The disruption of essential restorative processes frequently results in the negative effects of reduced mood which can bring about feelings of anxiety and depression.
For people dealing with alcohol use disorder or those in the process of recovery, experiencing withdrawal symptoms of fatigue may trigger compulsions and consequently lead to relapse. The alcohol rebound effect is a significant factor that is associated with causing people in recovery to relapse.
How To Stop Alcohol From Affecting Sleep
Experiencing trouble sleeping is a common withdrawal symptom that many face during the early stages of recovery, however, the longer you abstain from alcohol, the better your sleep becomes as the body begins to create a re-balanced cycle. This will not only improve your quality of sleep but also your mood.
AspenRidge Recovery offers comprehensive alcohol treatment programs that are designed to help individuals and their families move towards sobriety. If you’re looking to quit drinking or move toward recovery AspenRidge can help.
The key way to maintain sobriety is to ensure you have a reliable support network of friends and family. The journey of recovery is a difficult one and requires support from those around you. Find out what happens when you get sober.
Getting Help For Alcohol Addiction
More than 15 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol use disorder, 20% of which also suffer from depression and anxiety disorder. Depression and anxiety can cause interference to the circadian rhythm, hence, drinking alcohol can cause a further imbalance in the body. The result of which can lead to alcohol misuse which can consequently lead to dependency.
If you’ve noticed in yourself or someone you care for, signs or symptoms of alcohol misuse, recognizing the warning signs is the first step to realizing that seeking help may be needed. Doing so could be critical to helping you, or the person you care for, get the help you need to recover.
AspenRidge Recovery Support
If you or someone you care for are suffering from alcohol use disorder or are struggling to maintain sobriety, AspenRidge Recovery can help. AspenRidge Recovery offers a variety of comprehensive evidence-based treatments that are designed to give you the help you need. With a dedicated team on hand, we ensure that you don’t have to go through recovery alone. After completing a detoxification process, clients can begin treatment. Treatment options include:
- A dual diagnosis treatment program
- An intensive outpatients program
- A partial hospitalization program
At AspenRidge Recovery, we care about getting you back on track and we understand the importance of getting the right support for alcohol use disorder. If you feel like you’re ready to get help, contact us directly at 855-281-5588 to get started today.