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Does Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Insomnia?

When cutting alcohol out of your life, it can lead to a wide array of symptoms. Your body becomes dependent on the alcohol over time. Taking that alcohol away means your body is going to have to readjust. Many people struggle with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. That is why going to an alcohol detox facility or rehabilitation facility to stop using or abusing alcohol is so important. If you want to get over an alcohol addiction, we are here to help. Here are some of the most important things to know about alcohol withdrawal.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal a person faces is going to be as unique as the person giving up alcohol. Each person’s journey through alcohol detox will depend on many different factors. These include:

  • How much they drank each day
  • Whether the alcohol abuse was constant or binge drinking
  • How long they drank consistently
  • The type of alcohol they drank
  • How healthy the person was when detox and recovery began
  • The length of time since the last drink

Everyone giving up alcohol will face similar symptoms. However, they may range from mild to severe, depending on some of the above factors. Some of the mildest symptoms of alcohol recovery include feeling agitated or irritable, struggling with insomnia, and symptoms involving the entire GI tract (nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, etc.). From there, moderate and severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal kick in for some people. These symptoms include:

In some of the worst cases, someone may get Delirium Tremens (DTs), which are often hallucinations that consume the person. They are so real that people often struggle to realize that the hallucinations are not reality. While most people recover from these in a short time, some people struggle with them for weeks or longer. If the withdrawal symptoms happen without medical supervision of some type, seizures or death could also happen. These symptoms are incredibly rare, but they are the biggest reason that going to a detox center is so highly recommended when giving up alcohol.

Is Insomnia Common During Alcohol Withdrawals?

There are quite a few people who go through alcohol withdrawals that suffer from insomnia. Some of it was present prior to the addiction to alcohol, and may have even led to the addiction in some way. Others developed insomnia as a result of quitting alcohol or other health issue that coexisted during the addiction. People who struggle with insomnia only when stressed typically face an acute insomnia diagnosis. While those who just struggle to fall asleep often have onset insomnia. There are many types of insomnia, all of which could become exacerbated by recovery.

Why Do Some People Struggle to Sleep When Giving Up Alcohol?

Aside from the aspect of alcohol being a sedative, there is the aspect of dependence. Drinking alcohol changes how the body works, especially the mind. It tricks the mind into believing that alcohol is necessary for proper function. Your mind literally begins thinking that it needs alcohol to get up, process everything throughout the day, breathe, keep your heart beating, and even sleep. Without that alcohol, your mind, along with the rest of your body, does not know what to do.

Your body is also out of whack, so to speak, when you consume large amounts of alcohol. Your nutritional intake has likely suffered due to not eating regular, healthy meals. Additionally, parts of your body have to work much harder when you drink large amounts. Your liver and kidneys must manage a lot more when you drink. This means they are not as likely to be able to remove toxins since your body’s ability to filter them out is decreased. The truth is, if you ever binged when drinking and had too many drinks regularly, this could result in your liver or kidneys failing completely. This will impact how your body responds to attempts to sleep during recovery, too.

How to Get Over Alcohol Withdrawal Sleep Struggles

Getting over alcohol is difficult, but it is an achievable goal. One thing that makes it easier is getting solid sleep during the recovery process. If you get too little sleep, it increases your agitation and can make your symptoms harder to manage. That could lead to a relapse. If you struggle with alcohol withdrawal insomnia, then it is important to speak with us. We can suggest things to help. Here are a few tips to help you sleep better while going through alcohol withdrawals.

  • Medications
  • Restrictions around bedtime
  • Therapy to alter behaviors
  • Meditation and relaxation
  • Stimulant avoidance
  • Routines that ease the body and mind to sleep

Benefits to Keep in Mind if You Give Up Drinking

While it may be a struggle now to consider a life without alcohol, there are several benefits you could face in the near future. Alcohol leaves a mark on your body. It is something many can overcome, but it takes time and commitment. If you want positives to look forward to or to use as your reason to give up drinking, consider these facts:

  • Giving up alcohol allows your body to slowly reset itself. This means if you struggled with issues like insomnia, either while drinking or during the early part of your recovery, your sleep can improve greatly.
  • Alcohol is a significant factor in many traumas that occur each year. By giving up alcohol, you reduce your chances of being part of one.
  • By giving up alcohol, you also reduce your risk of developing some type of alcohol-related cancer in the future. The sooner you give this up, the lower your long-term chances become.
  • Most people who give up alcohol also notice that they are able to focus better. This is because there is no longer the depressant acting on your mind each day, stifling your thoughts.
  • The longer you stay sober, the more your health can return. This means that your heart will get stronger, as will your liver and kidney function.
  • Many people are able to repair relationships with people close to them when they give up drinking. Alcohol has numerous harmful effects, and damage to loved ones is often one of them.

We Are Here to Help You Manage Insomnia and Other Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Here at Compass Detox in South Florida, our medical and therapeutic professionals understand what your body is going through. They also have the training and experience to help relieve the symptoms you are facing. Reach out to us and let us explain how our approach can help. We take recovery very seriously, and we view that recovery with a multi-faceted focus. There is more to your recovery than just detoxing from alcohol and managing withdrawal symptoms. Let us help from the start of your recovery, and keep working with you until you feel comfortable managing your sobriety with minimal intrusion. You can contact us here on the website, email us at [email protected], or call us at 800-26-DETOX today. We are ready to help the moment you reach out.

Sources & Resources


  1. https://www.verywellmind.com/sleep-problems-in-recovering-alcoholics-63200
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2936493/
  3. https://www.kidney.org/news/kidneyCare/winter10/AlcoholAffects

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