On average, adults tend to sleep between 7 ½ & 8 hours per evening. While the exact functionality of sleep is unknown, most evidence points towards the idea that a lack of it can result in a variety of consequences, including breathing impairments, depression, and heart disease. In addiction, daytime exhaustion due to lack of rest is often attributed to impaired occupational and social function, memory deficits, and automobile accidents.
The consumption of alcohol has been seen to cause sleep disorders by way of disrupting the duration and sequence of the various sleep states and altering the amount of total sleep time.
Following the initial stimulation post consumption, alcohol ingested around bedtime may work to decrease the amount of time necessary to fall asleep. Due to its sedating effects, many individuals suffering from insomnia use alcohol as a way to ensure a quick and easy transition into dreamland. Unfortunately, studies show that the alcohol consumed within the last hour before sleep may actually serve in disrupting the end half of the sleep cycle. As such, those who utilize alcohol as a sleep tool may often experience fits of daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Sleep disturbances that are attributed to alcoholism include frequent awakenings, a decrease in sleep quality, and a prolonged pre-sleep period. Hasty consumption reductions in alcoholics may result in alcohol withdrawal syndrome, including insomnia and fragmented sleeping patterns.
Aside from minor improvements following the initial withdrawal period, sleep patterns in recovering alcoholics run the risk of never returning to normal. Studies show even abstinent alcoholics to suffer from poor sleep quality, with increased sleep fragmentation and decreased SWS. Ipso facto; relapse in severe alcoholics may result in increased SWS and decrease sleep fragmentation. Though this improvement may work to promote relapse to a small extent; in time, sleep disruption will once again rear its ugly little head.