How to Deal with Insomnia After Quitting Alcohol

How to Deal with Insomnia After Quitting Alcohol

Everyone has those nights where no matter what they do, they just cannot seem to fall and stay asleep.

While the occasional night of tossing and turning is mostly harmless, for some people, this is the norm. Many alcoholics and people in recovery from alcohol struggle with these sleepless nights regularly.

The Connection Between Alcohol & Insomnia

The relationship between alcohol and insomnia is complicated and multifaceted. Anywhere between 25 to 72% of people in alcohol treatment programs experience some kind of sleep problem.1 In some cases, people may have insomnia and use alcohol as a sleep aid. Other times, insomnia may be brought on or made worse from frequent alcohol use.

Not only can insomnia predate treatment, but often, it may get worse during an alcohol detox program. A common side effect of withdrawal, insomnia is often a result of the body trying to adjust back to a normal sleep cycle. In some cases, insomnia in alcohol recovery may persist for months or evens years after first getting sober.1

How to Deal with Alcohol Withdrawal Insomnia

Managing insomnia in alcohol recovery isn’t just about getting sleep, it is about avoiding relapse. Persistent sleep problems after withdrawal are connected to a greater risk of alcohol relapse.1 To stay on track, it is important to learn how to deal with insomnia after quitting alcohol. These tips may be able to help.

Follow A Sleep Schedule

Because your body and brain are trying to adjust to life without alcohol, the more you stick to a routine, the better. During residential alcohol treatment, your schedule is mostly already in place for you, but when you are on your own, it is important to try to keep a similar schedule. If you are going to bed at different hours every night, your body will struggle to regulate its circadian rhythm. It makes this transition easier and faster so that you can hopefully decrease the severity of alcohol withdrawal insomnia or other sleep disturbances in alcohol recovery.

Create a Routine

One of the best ways to deal with alcohol withdrawal insomnia is to create a good bedtime routine. Your body and brain may need time to wind down before falling asleep. If you follow a regular and relaxing bedtime routine, your mind will start to make the connection between these activities and sleep. This connection can help you fall asleep faster.

Avoid Napping

After a night of tossing and turning, it is natural to want to take a cat nap to catch up on some z’s but doing so can interfere with your regular sleep cycle. You are trying to get your body back into a normal sleep schedule, but naps during the day can throw off this schedule and make you less tired at night when you should be asleep.

Get Help

If it has been months and you are still struggling to understand how to deal with alcohol insomnia or other severe sleep disturbances in recovery, it may be time to get help. You may have a sleep disorder that needs its own attention.  A sleep doctor or specialist may be able to help you overcome these problems once and for all.

Learning how to deal with insomnia after quitting alcohol may take some time. Everyone is different so you may need to find what works best for you.

If you have yet to get help for a drinking problem or another substance use disorder, stop waiting. At Banyan Heartland, we want to help. Call us today at 888-280-4763.


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  2. SAMHSA - Treating Sleep Problems of People in Recovery From Substance Use Disorders
Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.