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The Hidden Effects of Drinking Alcohol

Did you know that drinking alcohol means you are consuming a particular sugar that creates shallow sleep? Drinking alcohol decreases physiologically restorative deep sleep, represses the respiratory center of the brain, can induce apneic events, (we all have these cessations of breath throughout the night), and create the shallow stages of sleep (stages 1 and 2).

Although alcohol can put you to sleep, drinking even mild to moderate amounts of alcohol creates more apnea. Heavy alcohol use is associated with forgetting the times you are awake and with poor sleep. This is another reason you feel more exhausted after a period of heavy drinking.  You’re also likely to experience increased irritability (as a result of withdrawal from the alcohol), and feel more scattered, spacey, and generally have poorer cognitive functioning.

Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available online (Skype) and in-person in San Diego and Encinitas, CA.

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