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You can get sleep during alcohol withdrawal by committing to a regular sleep schedule, establishing a calming bedtime routine, and being mindful of your diet. Additionally, keeping your bedroom for sleep only, getting regular exercise, and refraining from watching the clock can help foster a healthier sleep environment and aid in reducing insomnia symptoms.

During alcohol withdrawal, one of the most common issues individuals face is difficulty sleeping.

The sudden absence of alcohol disrupts sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and frequent awakenings. Fortunately, with patience and the right strategies, you can restore a healthy sleep cycle and enhance your overall recovery journey.

In this article, we explore how to get sleep during alcohol withdrawal.

How to Get Sleep During Alcohol Withdrawal

A good night’s sleep is essential to a successful recovery from alcohol addiction. It may take some time to get back to a healthy sleeping schedule, but it is possible.

Here are some ideas that can help you understand how to get sleep during alcohol withdrawal.

1. Commit to a Regular Sleep Schedule

Adhering to a regular sleep schedule is a powerful tool when trying to get quality sleep during alcohol withdrawal. It helps regulate your body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, promoting a natural, healthy sleep-wake cycle. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends or days off. Consistency is key, as it can enhance the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Although it might be challenging at first, over time, your body will become accustomed to this schedule, and you may find yourself naturally getting sleepy around bedtime. Be patient and persistent. Resist the urge to oversleep on days when you’re feeling particularly tired, as this can disrupt your sleep cycle. Remember, a regular sleep schedule is an essential component of good sleep hygiene and can facilitate a smoother recovery from alcohol withdrawal.

2. Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

A relaxing bedtime routine can significantly enhance your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep during alcohol withdrawal. This routine acts as a signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. It could include activities such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or taking a warm bath.

Avoid activities that are mentally stimulating or stress-inducing, such as watching the news or using electronic devices. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Instead, opt for activities that promote relaxation and tranquility.

A consistent, relaxing bedtime routine can create a strong association between these pre-sleep activities and sleep itself. Over time, simply starting your bedtime routine can begin to make you feel sleepy. Establishing this routine can be a critical factor in successfully navigating sleep challenges during alcohol withdrawal and promoting overall recovery.

3. Be Mindful of What You Eat or Drink

When attempting to improve sleep during alcohol withdrawal, it is crucial to take into consideration your diet and hydration. Certain foods and drinks can impact your sleep patterns, either by disrupting your ability to fall asleep or causing you to wake up during the night. Consuming large meals close to bedtime can cause discomfort and indigestion, which may hinder your sleep. Also, drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, or certain sodas, act as stimulants, keeping your mind alert and preventing you from falling asleep.

Alcohol, despite its sedative effects, actually disrupts the quality of sleep and can exacerbate sleep problems during withdrawal. Hydration plays an essential role as well, as dehydration can lead to insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Hence, it’s recommended to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but moderate intake close to bedtime to avoid middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.

4. Keep Naps Short

While it may be tempting to compensate for a poor night’s sleep by taking long naps during the day, this can actually worsen your sleep problems. Extended or late-day napping can interfere with your body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, which regulates your sleep-wake cycle. This disruption can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.

If you feel the need to nap, try to limit your nap to 20-30 minutes and schedule it for the early afternoon. This brief period of rest can help to recharge your energy without significantly disrupting your night’s sleep. Be aware that consistent reliance on naps could signify inadequate nighttime sleep or potentially an undiagnosed sleep disorder. It’s crucial to discuss persistent sleep issues with a healthcare professional.

5. Use Your Bedroom for Sleep Only

Creating an environment conducive to sleep can play a significant role in battling insomnia during alcohol withdrawal. One effective method is to use your bedroom for sleep and sex only. This helps establish a psychological connection between the bedroom and relaxation, which can make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Remove distractions such as TVs, computers, and work-related materials that could trigger stress or anxiety. The design and comfort of the room also matter.

Choose calming colors for walls and furnishings, invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows, and ensure that the room is dark, quiet, and cool. Utilize window shades, earplugs, or a white noise machine if necessary. By making your bedroom a sleep sanctuary, you reinforce the association between this space and restful sleep, aiding in better sleep quality.

6. Get Regular Exercise

Regular exercise has a multitude of health benefits, one of which is improved sleep. Physical activity increases the amount of time you spend in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep is essential for a healthy immune system and cardiac health. Exercise also reduces stress and anxiety, common triggers of insomnia. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout.

Moderate activities like walking or cycling can have a significant impact. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week. However, try not to exercise close to bedtime as it could interfere with your sleep. Exercising raises your body temperature and releases hormones like cortisol. These changes can keep you awake if they occur too close to your bedtime. Aim to finish exercising at least 1-2 hours before sleep to give your body time to wind down.

7. Avoid Watching the Clock

Clock-watching can increase stress and anxiety, making it even harder to fall asleep. It’s a behavior that creates a negative feedback loop: the more you can’t sleep, the more you watch the clock, and the more anxious you become, the more difficult it becomes to fall asleep. If you find yourself frequently checking the time, consider turning your clock away from your line of sight or removing it from your bedroom altogether.

Remember, your goal is to create a calm, relaxing environment free from stress triggers. Instead of focusing on the time, try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization. These strategies can help divert your attention away from your inability to sleep and promote relaxation, aiding in your journey towards better sleep during alcohol withdrawal.


Navigating sleep issues during alcohol withdrawal can prompt numerous questions. Below, we answer a few common ones:

How long does insomnia last after stopping drinking?

Insomnia during alcohol withdrawal typically lasts for a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the alcohol dependency. However, some individuals might experience sleep disruptions for several months or even a year after discontinuing alcohol. Professional help can effectively manage these symptoms and support healthy sleep patterns.

Why can’t I sleep after giving up alcohol?

After quitting alcohol, your body undergoes withdrawal as it adjusts to functioning without it. One common withdrawal symptom is insomnia. This is because alcohol affects the neurotransmitters in your brain that regulate sleep. Once you stop drinking, your brain may struggle to reestablish its natural sleep patterns, leading to sleep difficulties.

What is the best sleep aid for recovering alcoholic patients?

The best sleep aid for recovering alcoholics often involves a combination of non-drug strategies like cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), maintaining a regular sleep schedule, exercise, and a sleep-friendly environment. However, in certain cases, under medical supervision, short-term use of sleep medications may be considered. Always consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

How can I sleep at night without alcohol?

Improving sleep without alcohol involves healthy sleep habits. Commit to a regular sleep schedule, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, and reserve your bedroom for sleep only. Regular exercise can help, but avoid rigorous activity close to bedtime. Limit caffeine and nicotine intake, especially in the evenings, and consider using relaxation techniques to wind down before sleep.

Need Help?

Sleep issues during alcohol withdrawal can be challenging but you’re not alone. Our team at Verve Behavioral Health is here to guide and support you on your journey toward recovery. With expert care, personalized strategies, and a compassionate environment, we ensure you never have to face these challenges alone. Reach out today to take the first step towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.


Sleeping difficulties during alcohol withdrawal are a common concern, but with patience and the right strategies, you can reclaim a restful night’s sleep. Prioritize good sleep hygiene, maintain a regular sleep schedule, and don’t hesitate to seek professional support if needed. Your journey to recovery, although challenging, is an investment in your health and well-being. Begin your journey with us at Verve Behavioral Health today.

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