Insomnia During Alcohol Detox: What Causes It, and How to …

How I Healed from Benzodiazepine Withdrawal-Induced Insomnia

3. Be Mindful of What You Eat or Drink.



In young adults without sleep complaints, sleep latency occurs within 20 minutes, 75% of the night is spent in NREM sleep (15–20% in Stages 3 and 4 combined, also called “deep” or “slow wave” sleep (SWS), and sleep alternates between NREM and REM in roughly 90-minute cycles. 26 With increasing age, decreases in total sleep time, sleep efficiency, percentage of SWS and REM, and REM latency (the elapsed time between sleep onset and the first appearance of REM sleep) are evident; by contrast, there are increases in sleep latency, the percentage of Stages 1 and 2 (light sleep), and time awake during the night. 27.


One study found that tetrabamate and diazepam can help improve sleep among people undergoing alcohol detox. Tetrabamate is often used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal problems, and diazepam treats anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures.

What is the course of recovery of insomnia and other sleep disturbances during abstinence?

Table 2.

Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a person with alcohol addiction suddenly stops drinking. Mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms might include headaches and loss of appetite. Severe effects include delirium tremens symptoms, a life-threatening form of alcohol withdrawal that can cause agitation, fever and seizures.




Whether you listen to calming music, read a book, or take a warm bath, establishing a relaxing evening routine will help improve your sleep. Avoid watching TV and using your phone, tablet, or laptop prior to winding down as these activities can trigger your brain to stay awake longer, resulting in sleep disturbances. Limiting the usage of bright screens at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime can help your mind and body slow down and relax.


A number of effective pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment options exist to manage insomnia. Most have been evaluated in non-alcoholic insomnia patients so their efficacy in alcoholic patients is uncertain. Moreover, treating insomnia in the alcoholic patients requires special consideration because of the abuse history and potential for overdose with some pharmacological agents when mixed with alcohol. Clinical guidelines have been recommended for addressing insomnia complaints in early recovery. 43 Good sleep practices should be discussed with all recovering alcoholic patients, but adjunctive insomnia treatment should be initiated if sleep problems persist beyond one month and are accompanied by daytime impairment and/or psychological distress.