Alcohol and sleep-related problems

Curr Opin Psychol. 2019 Dec:30:117-122. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.03.007. Epub 2019 Apr 19.


Alcohol is one of the most commonly used psychoactive substances in the community. Many individuals use alcohol for its sleep-promoting effects. Nonetheless, alcohol disrupts sleep through multiple mechanisms, such as disrupting electrophysiologic sleep architecture, triggering insomnia, and contributing to abnormalities of circadian rhythms and short sleep duration (SSD) in cross-sectional studies. Alcohol also increases breathing-related sleep events such as snoring and oxygen desaturation, especially in those with pre-existing problems. Emerging data demonstrate that insomnia may co-exist with SSD and circadian abnormalities. Future studies should unravel these tentative associations in individuals who misuse alcohol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Humans
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Snoring / etiology
  • United States