Does alcohol help you sleep?

2 Wine Glasses on A Bed | scooms

A glass of wine or G&T after a long hot day at work or looking after the kids seems quite appealing to me at the moment! But will an alcoholic drink or two help me sleep or end up with me feeling more tired?

  1. Alcohol and your body
  2. How alcohol affects your sleep patterns
  3. Interrupting your circadian rhythm and REM sleep
  4. Extra toilet trips - alcohol is a diuretic!
  5. Snoring & sleep apnea - bad news for your partner!
  6. Drinking sensibly and sleeping well



Alcohol and your body
It's tempting to think that a glass or two of alcohol before bed will help you to relax and fall asleep quickly. But alcohol acts as both a stimulant and a sedative on your body so although it might help you feel drowsy and fall asleep quickly, it will also  wake you up during the night and prevent you from having a full night’s sleep.

“All the alcohol you’ve drunk in the evening has usually gone from your body about halfway through the night, then there tends to be a rebound effect where you are more awake in the second half of the night;” Dr. Kirstie Anderson, co-founder of Sleepstation.


How alcohol affects your sleep patterns
Deep sleep called 'delta activity' allows for memory formation and learning. But when you drink alcohol 'alpha activity' which doesn’t usually happen during sleep is also turned on. These two activities wouldn’t normally happen at the same time and so as they compete together they can prevent proper restorative sleep.


Interrupting your circadian rhythm and REM sleep
It's common to wake up in the middle of the night after drinking. Alcohol may increase production of the chemicals in the body that trigger sleepiness so you fall asleep faster but then also subside faster making you more likely to wake up before you’ve had a proper night’s sleep.

REM sleep is the most restorative phase of sleep. If alcohol prevents you getting your full amount of REM sleep, you’re likely to wake up feeling groggy and unfocused.


Extra toilet trips - alcohol is a diuretic!
Unfortunately, alcohol is a diuretic so it will encourage your body to lose the extra fluid by sweating and going to the loo!  So you will be likely to need to go more in the middle of the night and end up dehydrated, particularly in this hot weather.


Snoring & sleep apnea - bad news for your partner!
Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your body so the tissues in your nose, mouth and throat end up preventing air flowing smoothly, becoming more likely to vibrate and result in unsociable snoring. 

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. Your breathing is interrupted during sleep and you stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. This can result in your brain and body not getting enough oxygen. It can increase the risk of various health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke and depression, as well as affecting your ability to perform your job or everyday activities as well as normal. 


Drinking sensibly and sleeping well
It doesn't take more than one drink to affect the quality of your sleep. But if you often consume over the recommended 14 units a week you might find yourself feeling constantly tired and groggy. Check out the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines.

When you do drink alcohol, avoid drinking close to bedtime so that your body has time to process the alcohol before you go to sleep. Estimate that it takes approximately one hour to process one unit of alcohol.

Regular alcohol-free days can help you sleep better. You will find you sleep throughout the night rather than waking often and also find it easier to get up in the mornings.

The Drinkaware app  is free and can help you to monitor the amount of alcohol you drink and to set goals for reducing your intake.



Author: Emily AttwoodPublished: 20 September 2017Last modified: 27 March 2024

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Bedding size guide


These are standard UK bedding measurements so if you know your mattress size, you can easily work out which duvet size you need. (Width x length.)

UK sizes Duvet size Mattress size
Single 135 x 200cm (53 x 79") 90 x 190cm (36 x 75")
Double 200 x 200cm (79 x 79") 135 x 190cm (53 x 75")
King 225 x 220cm (89 x 87") 150 x 200cm (60 x 78")
Super king 260 x 220cm (102 x 87") 180 x 200cm (72 x 78")

US/CANADA BEDDING SIZES: Approximate matches to UK sizes are US King/UK Super king, US Queen/UK King,  US Full/UK Double and US Twin/UK Single.

EUROPEAN BEDDING SIZES: Each size - Single, Double, King and Grand king - is a little larger than the UK equivalent.

Measure your mattress to see which size bedding you need: our UK v European v US mattress comparison guide.



Young children can overheat so if they are old enough to use a full size bed, we recommend using a single size 4.5 tog duvet.

 Tog rating Season / heat Feel
2.5 tog High summer / hot sleepers Light thermal insulation
4.5 tog Summer Lower thermal insulation
9 tog Spring & Autumn Cosy medium heat
All season 13.5 tog 4.5 tog + 9 tog Very warm
All season 11.5 tog 2.5 tog + 9 tog Warm
All season 7 tog 2.5 tog + 4.5 tog Lower warmth



Our goose down duvets have high 700 fill power. Fill weight is measured in GSM (grams per square metre). For example view our 9 tog king size goose down duvet for more duvet details.

Fill weight (not total duvet weight)
Single All seasons - 788gsm
9 tog - 486gsm 
4.5 tog - 302gsm 
2.5 tog - 220gsm
Double All seasons - 1168gsm
9 tog - 720gsm
4.5 tog - 448gsm
2.5 tog - 320gsm
King All seasons - 1478gsm
9 tog - 911gsm
4.5 tog - 567gsm
2.5 tog - 400gsm
Super king All seasons - 1671gsm
9 tog - 1030gsm
4.5 tog - 641gsm
2.5 tog - 480gsm



Our pillows come in two sizes and two firmness options. (Width x length.)

Standard  50 x 75cm
King 50 x 90cm



Our fitted sheets are deep fit, up to 40cm / 15.7" mattress depth. And our duvet covers fasten with large, easy to use buttons. (Width x length.)

Duvet cover Fitted sheet Flat sheet Pillowcase (pair)
Single 140 x 200cm 90 x 190cm 180 x 275cm
Double 200 x 200cm 135 x 190cm 230 x 275cm 50 x 75cm (Standard)
King 230 x 220cm 150 x 200cm 275 x 275cm 50 x 90cm (King)
Super king 260 x 220cm 180 x 200cm 305 x 275cm



Our mattress protectors are deep fit, up to 40cm mattress depth. Choose the same size protector as your mattress size. (Width x length.)

Mattress protector size Mattress size
Single 90 x 190cm 90 x 190cm
Double 135 x 190cm 135 x 190cm
King 150 x 200cm 150 x 200cm
Super king 180 x 200cm 180 x 200cm 


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