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Elizabeth Hartney, PhD

Drinking Yourself to Sleep

By January 19, 2013

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A study, published in the journal "Sleep," indicated that people who attempt to combat insomnia through through self-medication spend far more on alcohol (an estimated $339.8 million in the province where the study was based) than on either prescription medications ($16.5 million), or over the-counter products ($1.8 million). Information on illicit drug use was not included.

The Province newspaper, which ran an article on the study, quoted sleep expert, Dr Adam Moscovitch, as saying, "When you knock yourself out as a way of dealing with [insomnia]...then alcohol has a very negative effect on your sleep. It deprives you of...the deep stages of sleep and, once it wears off, it has a rebound effect. So your problem becomes much worse."

If you are drinking or drugging as an attempt to get a good night's sleep, try these strategies instead.

January 6, 2009 at 8:32 pm
(1) Dr. Brandon Peters says:

Alcohol should NEVER be used as a sleep aid. It is clearly disruptive to normal sleep. If you are suffering from insomnia or other sleep problems, please seek the help of a medical professional. We have lots of help to offer!

January 6, 2009 at 11:32 pm
(2) addictions says:

Drugs commonly perceived as “relaxing” can also cause more problems with sleep, as they disrupt the body’s natural phases of sleep (as well as other disruptive effects on the nervous system). Even prescribed sleep medications are unhelpful in the long term. If you are addicted to sleep meds, talk to your doctor about getting help with quitting.

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