Having a nightmare getting to sleep after quitting alcohol

As the title says. After stopping drinking alcohol 15 days ago I just can’t sleep at nights. I go to bed and toss and turn for hours before eventually falling asleep at about 2 or 3am.

Has anyone else suffered from this?

Other than alcohol consumption has anything in your pre-bedtime routine changed?

Nope nothing

Did you always drink before sleep/“needed a drink” to sleep?

Speak to your doctor. A short term solution might be non-benzo sleeping pills.

Legal state/country? Try cannabis (indica).

Speak to your doctor regardless and be honest. Seriously.

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It may be that your routine was sub optimal and that have a drink masked that. Also, if you were drinking a fair amount before you stopped then you may be one of the outliers where it takes longer for your brain chemistry to adjust and hence move towards better sleep.

If possible don’t use alcohol to fix the sleep issue, maybe make a doctors appointment to see if they can prescribe something to help you sleep in the short term?


I’ll make an appointment with my doc. Thanks for the advice

I quit around the same time. While I fall asleep easily I sleep a touch less each night. The biggest bummer is that I don’t feel amazing like I thought I would during the day and on the bike performance is meh. Impossible to correlate…just anecdotal.

Experts write sleep insomnia can last months and is one of the main reasons (not you) people give up on sobriety. So hang in there. Reading/podcasts help me get sleepy and definitely a routine helps.

edit: just wanted to add the shift in calories has created some challenges. Check calories and macros!


I’ll share this about leaving the ‘pro’ ranks over 14 years ago…

From what I recall, my sleep was disrupted for some time because the effects of alcohol on the body and it’s neurological systems hard-wire a change that is difficult to overcome in a short time period, so expecting to be sleeping like a ‘normal’ person and bounding to & fro is a little unrealistic, from my experience.

Get into a pre-bed routine and stick with it - for me, it’s getting my stuff ready for the morning spin, bathroom stuff and read for a few minutes prior to lights out. As I recall, it took me the better part of two months before I was regulated.

Finally, make the call and make the appointment. To echo what another has said, be open and honest when you have the discussion (they can smell BS a mile away and you’ll only be hurting yourself if you are not).


Do you drink caffeine? If so it might be affecting your sleep or at least going to sleep. I just read the book why we sleep by Matthew Walker and it was a very interesting read. Someone else recommended it on the forum and it has some good tips and information.



Make an appointment with a doctor. And maybe it’s the American way but try something without pills at first.
Google evening routine. Drink tea, start to meditate, try some light stretching or yoga, don’t use social media or your smartphone an hour before you go to sleep, listen to some music, read a book or a magazine in bed with low lights…
Try try try…
Hope the best for you!


I’m surprised that melatonin hasn’t been recommended yet. It’s naturally produced by your body, and quite effective in inducing sleep. You can even try it while you’re waiting for your doctor’s appointment, because this could be a plethora of issues.


It is called delirium tremers. Alcohol just knocks you out not let you have actual sleep. Your brain keeps track of how much of dream sleep you missed and makes up for it now you stopped knocking it out with your old drinking habit. This will fade out over time and it’s very normal. Keep it up and take out a bit more time for sleep since your sleep quality has gone down.


Thanks everyone for all of the good advice. It’s very much appreciated :+1:


@Rainier tremens. I don’t think, from reading posts here and in the thread I started, that @GeorgeAnderson is even remotely going through acute alcohol withdrawal which delirium tremens are correctly, as you posted, one of the symptoms. I’m guessing here, but I’d have to conclude if anyone experienced those they’d also experience other life threatening symptoms associated with acute alcohol withdrawal. Anyone reading this and thinks they are in that boat they recommend going to a hospital as symptoms can escalate!

One of the problems searching for information is it’s all geared clearly towards the alcoholic. I think @GeorgeAnderson and guys like myself who drank “excessively” (by definition almost everyone I know drinks excessively!!!) are not in fact alcoholics but, clearly battling a neurological change associated with drinking too much for an extended period of time.

Obviously, drinking alcohol with frequency over time, just like training frequency, your body/brain adapt to that stimulus. @GeorgeAnderson I can’t find any useful information other than inferring from the 8 trillion articles written about alcoholism that it can take months (depending on individuals and severity of drinking) to re-develop a new normal in sleep patterns.

It’s a life style change for me so no going back. If your anything like me it’s an endurance race. Nothing comes easy. Always fighting something. But, your probably stubborn as hell so just apply that to this little sprint. It’s like a VO2max interval. Somewhere in the middle you want to quit.

I wish I had something useful for you to read. Maybe a doctor is the best advise.


@Landis +1

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Could also try bathing in very hot water earlier in the evening. Raising the core temperature. When the core starts to cool down it may help induce sleep.


There’s no doubt at all in my mind that I am just suffering from some lingering alcohol withdrawal issues that are preventing me from sleeping properly. My thought is that I just HTFU and man it out as there are no other symptoms and I no longer feel the desire to have a beer or two each night after work. But thanks to everyone for their advice.


Well the thing is that I have those damn things, or at least very vivid dream, after just 2 days of back to back drinking #studentlife. So I never rule them out.


Gotcha! Holy cow!

I’ve binned the alcohol for January (at least) this year and noticed I had trouble getting to sleep the first week. For me, it was down to caffeine as I always have a coffee after dinner. I stopped that for a couple of days and have found getting to sleep easier. Hopefully for you it is something similar and you will get through it without much additional hassle

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