Alcohol Withdrawal – Dealing With Insomnia

Last Updated: August 7, 2019

Dealing with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is always challenging. One of the most challenging negative effects of alcohol that withdrawal often presents is insomnia. This sleep disorder often emerges in the earliest stages of a person’s withdrawal and can last for months after other symptoms have dispersed. The impact of this sleep disorder can be substantial, as it stops the individual from functioning to full capacity and makes their life all that more difficult. So what are the signs of alcohol withdrawal insomnia, can it be prevented, and is it dangerous?

Alcohol Withdrawal Insomnia Symptoms

Alcohol insomnia tends to be quite recognizable due to its symptoms. Insomnia from alcohol may present itself in some ways, including:

  • Frequently waking during the night
  • Not being able to fall asleep at all
  • Restlessness and nightmares
  • Feeling constantly tired
  • Anxiety when trying to sleep
  • Waking up still feeling exhausted

The symptoms of insomnia from alcohol withdrawal also tends to worsen other symptoms, such as mood swings and depression. This is down to the person’s lack of sleep. That is why it is important to get to the roots of what is causing the sleep disorder, as there may be a way to lessen it.

Does Alcohol Cause Insomnia and How?

Alcohol itself is not the cause of insomnia. However, the sleep disorder is a symptom that occurs after a user withdraws from the drug.

Withdrawal occurs when the body is adjusting to life without the substance. There are some symptoms of withdrawal, including nausea, tremors, and depression. They can be easily confused with alcohol poisoning signs. The inability to sleep is just another one of those symptoms. It is often partly caused by the coinciding sign of anxiety, which sends the mind racing and makes it incredibly difficult for the person withdrawing to sleep.

So how long does insomnia last after quitting alcohol?

Insomnia after drinking alcohol may occur as the user begins to come down, even after smaller doses of the substance. Insomnia and other withdrawal symptoms can happen as soon as the drug starts to leave the system. This can be as little as a few hours after the drug has last been consumed. If you wonder how long alcohol withdrawal last, the answer varies. The withdrawal then tends to last 12-48 hours, lessening in severity as times goes on. However, this time can be quite challenging, especially for a suicidal alcoholic.

What are the Dangers?

When it comes to insomnia and alcohol withdrawal, sleep disorder can be a huge danger for two reasons. Firstly, an inability to sleep is a danger to a person’s health. A lack of sleep can have a severe effect on mental health, making moods inconsistent, inducing depression and worsening anxiety. It can also take a large physical toll on the body, as it struggles to recover from the other withdrawal symptoms, due to not getting a sufficient amount of rest.

Secondly, any sleep disorder is dangerous as it can deter a user from getting clean. Alcohol-induced insomnia will effect withdrawal so substantially that the user will question their ability to get clean and live without the drug. Because of these reasons, it is vital to get the support you need when going through alcoholic insomnia.

Preventing Alcohol Withdrawal Insomnia

There are some ways to provide yourself with an alcohol insomnia cure. Although none of the possible strategies may work correctly, many may help to lessen the symptoms. Alcohol causes insomnia when it gradually leaves your system, creating sleeplessness as a withdrawal symptom. Therefore, helping your body to adjust is the best way to prevent further restless nights.

Methods of easing insomnia alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Relaxing activities before bed
  • Create a routine
  • Avoid stressful situations
  • Do yoga or meditation
  • Eat Omega 3 to help your body replenish
  • Eat Protein to help your body recover
  • Find a safe, natural substitute for the substance

Finding Support

When it comes to alcohol and insomnia, many people will struggle to deal with the symptoms alone. As a lack of sleep can worsen other symptoms, it is essential to have the support of the alcohol treatment center professionals you need when decided to stop drinking.

There are a variety of programs available for those wishing to undergo alcohol detox. These specialists in treatment for alcohol addiction will guide users through withdrawal effects with psychotherapy, group therapy, and medication.


Marixie Ann Manarang-Obsioma

Content Writer

Marixie Ann Manarang-Obsioma is a licensed Medical Technologist (Medical Laboratory Science) and an undergraduate of Doctor of Medicine (MD). She took her Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology at Angeles University Foundation and graduated with flying colors.

The combination of having a good medical background, being a mom, and wanting to help people, especially the elderly has cultivated her passion for working in remote areas with love and compassion.
Marixie likes to travel, read, and watch movies.

Medical review by Brian Obodeze

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  • I loved your content, the whole post is written very well. I have been searching for informative regarding the sleep subject and this really helped me. I have always struggled with falling asleep I am not sure why either. Sleep supplements have always made me feel worried as they can have side effects. Thank you again stay safe and wishing you a lovely day.