The Within-Person Association Between Alcohol Use and Sleep Duration and Quality in Situ: An Experience Sampling Study

Addict Behav. 2016 Oct;61:68-73. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.05.018. Epub 2016 May 20.


Objective: Despite evidence for detrimental effects of alcohol on sleep quality in laboratory studies, alcohol is commonly used as a self-prescribed sleep aid. This study examined the within-person associations of alcohol use with sleep duration and quality in everyday life to gain insight into the ecological validity of laboratory findings on the association between sleep and alcohol.

Method: A sample of 150 adults (age 19-89years) were followed for 60+days as part of an intensive experience sampling study wherein participants provided daily reports of their alcohol use, sleep duration, and sleep quality. Within-person and between-person associations of daily sleep duration and quality with alcohol use were examined using multilevel models.

Results: A significant, negative within-person association was observed between sleep quality and alcohol use. Sleep quality was lower on nights following alcohol use. Sleep duration did not vary as a function of within-person variation in alcohol use.

Conclusions: In line with laboratory assessments, alcohol use was associated with low sleep quality but was not associated with sleep duration, suggesting that laboratory findings generalize to everyday life. This examination of individuals' daily lives suggests that alcohol does not systematically improve sleep quality or duration in real life.

Keywords: Alcohol; Experience sampling; Longitudinal analysis; Sleep; Substance use.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Time
  • Young Adult