The average adult sleeps 7.5 to 8 hours every night. Although the function of sleep is unknown, abundant evidence demonstrates that lack of sleep can have serious consequences, including increased risk of depressive disorders, impaired breathing, and heart disease.

In addition, excessive daytime sleepiness resulting from sleep disturbance is associated with memory deficits, impaired social and occupational function, and car crashes.

Alcohol consumption can induce sleep disorders by disrupting the sequence and duration of sleep states and by altering total sleep time as well as the time required to fall asleep.

This Alcohol Alert explores the effects of alcohol consumption on sleep patterns, the potential health consequences of alcohol consumption combined with disturbed sleep, and the risk for relapse in those with alcoholism who fail to recover normal sleep patterns.

Many people with insomnia consume alcohol to promote sleep. However, alcohol consumed within an hour of bedtime appears to disrupt the second half of the sleep period.

The person may sleep easily during the second half of sleep, only to awaken from dreams, then return to sleep with difficulty.

With continued consumption just before bedtime, alcohol's sleep-inducing effect may decrease, while its disruptive effects continue or increase.

This sleep disruption may lead to daytime fatigue and sleepiness.

Drug and Alcohol Related Sleep Problems

Sleep problems have been associated with drug abuse, and withdrawal from drugs. Sleep disturbances also have been linked to the use of alcohol and to chronic alcoholism.

Many prescription drugs and nonprescription drugs can cause sleep problems. The severity of sleep problems caused by a drug will vary from person to person.

Prescription drugs that may cause sleep problems include:

-High blood pressure medications
-Hormones such as oral contraceptives
-Steroids including prednisone
-Inhaled respiratory medications
-Diet pills
-Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications
-Some antidepressants

The following nonprescription drugs can cause sleep problems:

-Pseudoephedrine, including the brand Sudafed
-Medications with caffeine. These include the brands Anacin, -Excedrin, and No-Doz as well as cough and cold medications.
-Illegal drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.
-Nicotine, which can disrupt sleep and reduce total sleep time.

Smokers report more daytime sleepiness and minor accidents than do nonsmokers, especially in younger age groups.

In addition, the combination of alcohol, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and snoring increases a person's risk for heart attack, arrhythmia, stroke, and sudden death.

Author's Bio: 

Robert Jakobsen has battled alcohol and drug addiction for 20-years. Today, he lives happy, joyous and free, one day at a time.

He is the founder of the Recovery Network. A website dedicated to addiction and recovery.