Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2017 Jun;24(1):5-11. 10.14401/KASMED.2017.24.1.5.

Sleep Disorder and Alcohol

  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, St. Paul's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


The use of alcohol is associated with the development and worsening of sleep disorder. Alcohol is generally known to have a sedative effect, but it has an arousal or sedative effect depending on the timing and drinking dose and directly affects REM sleep physiology. Alcohol acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to interfere with the sleep-wake cycle and to affect sleep-related hormone secretion. In addition, the ingestion of alcohol pre-sleep is associated with deterioration and development of sleep related breathing disorders (SBD). The increase in resistance of the upper respiratory tract and the decrease in sensitivity of the CNS respiratory center and the respiratory muscles are major mechanisms of alcohol-induced SBD, and result in snoring or apnea in healthy men or aggravating apnea in patients with OSA. Sleep-related restless leg syndrome and circadian rhythm disorders are common in alcohol use disorder patients. This review provides an assessment of scientific studies that investigated on the impact of alcohol ingestion on nocturnal sleep physiology and sleep disorders.


Alcohols; Sleep; Sleep apnea; Sleep disorders
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