A writer and standup comedian shares a story of insomnia and alcoholism with The Influence.
“It helps me sleep!” I would explain to anyone who wondered why I kept a bottle of bourbon next to my bed. But I wasn’t drinking only at bedtime. Frequently, I would pass out hours before I was in my bed, in the back of a cab or the corner of a party under a pile of coats. I wasn’t an alcoholic! I was a goddamn sleeping champion.
But though booze can literally knock you you out, it’s not the best remedy for insomnia. A review of various sleep studies found that alcohol can help some people fall asleep, but it interrupts the quality of sleep once you get there. Booze is metabolized quickly and, depending how much you drink, alcohol withdrawal symptoms generally kick in about halfway through the night. This can cause shallow sleep, multiple awakenings, nightmares, sweating and restlessness—the very problems I began drinking to avoid.