Stop smoking! Nicotine is a stimulant and has been linked to many sleep problems. In one recent study, smokers were more likely to report problems falling and staying asleep compared to non-smokers. Similar to caffeine, nicotine is both a drug and a stimulant. It impacts the ability of a person to fall asleep, and effects the quality of sleep.
Smoking will change your natural circadian rhythm. That is, it will knock your body’s natural clock out of sync. It was found in a study that mice who were subject to tobacco smoke had a huge disruption to their natural circadian clock. This could lead to depression and anxiety.
Smokers also wake up more frequently during the night and have more restless sleep. There was a study done on this by scientists at John Hopkins University. Using an EEG they discovered that the brain patterns of the smokers had less deep sleep than the non-smoker and the non-smokers had more restful sleep.
Because of all this many smokers suffer from insomnia.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol turns into sugar in your bloodstream and will keep you awake, or at least keep your body fighting off the sugar, all night. Not as bad as caffeine, perhaps, but still an issue. It is going to impair your sleep.
At first the alcohol may act as a stimulant as the brain will experience many feel-good chemicals as soon as it’s consumed. Soon however it will begin acting as a depressant and at higher levels of blood-alcohol levels this could be dangerous.
Drinking excessive alcohol before sleep seems to have a “rebound effect” that means you will sleep deeper for the first part of the night, but then become more restless at later parts of the night. Alcohol interferes with sleep homeostasis, which is the body’s natural sleep-regulating mechanism.
A lot of people have problems when they combine their prescription medication with alcohol, especially if they are on sleep medication. You will often have warnings on the medications instructions advising you to avoid alcohol while taking them, and these instructions should be obeyed.
It is overwhelmingly clear now that alcohol should NOT be used as a sleep aid. Alcohol will disrupt your sleep and will impair the quality of your sleep.
Recovering alcoholics will often also have sleep problems. They may be able to initially get to sleep easily, but then their sleep will be disturbed later on in the night.
They will also have less deep sleep. These sleep problems could affect the recovering alcoholics for months.