Dreams of Drinking Alcohol: Are They Normal?

Are you worried because you have had dreams of drinking alcohol? Well, in this article we’re going to explore alcohol dreams, and what they mean.

We’ll look at alcohol’s effects on sleep, why dreams become more vivid, and I’ll share some personal experiences with you. By the end of this article, you’ll understand that dreams of alcohol are totally normal, and they are nothing to worry about.

Sleeping at work

What Does Alcohol Do To A Night of Sleep?

Before we dive into talking about dreams of drinking alcohol, let’s look at alcohol and sleep.

Most drinkers believe that alcohol improves the quality of their sleep.

But, does it?

Alcohol does help reduce sleep onset latency – or the time it takes to fall asleep at night. 

However, as drinkers build tolerances, the sedative effects of alcohol start to wear off. In other words, as time goes on, a drinker needs to drink more alcohol to fall asleep at night.

So, if a drinker has a regular night-cap, it becomes less and less effective over time. Unless they increase their intake.

During the first half of the night, when alcohol is still being metabolised by the body, people spend more time in deep sleep, and less time in REM sleep. 

However, more time in deep sleep is not necessarily a good thing. Changing the natural nature of sleep is generally a bad idea.

A woman sleeping soundly

This was confirmed in a 2013 review of 27 studies.

REM sleep, the type of sleep that gets bypassed, is responsible for learning, memory, and mood. If REM sleep is disrupted, it can lead to reduced coping skills (source), migraines (source) and even increasing body-weight (source).

During the second half of the night, the body undergoes a “rebound effect.” The drinker goes from deep sleep to light sleep. 

Light sleep can often have more awakenings throughout the night. The drinkers might not even be aware of these awakenings, but it causes interruptions in the quality of sleep.

Alcohol also impacts sleep in a number of other ways. Alcohol contributes to:

  • Sleep apnea and snoring
  • An increase in bathroom visits
  • Increased risk of sleepwalking and sleep eating
  • Trigger new sleep disorders, including insomnia

There’s no denying that drinking alcohol can make you fall asleep faster.

In fact, 20% of adult Americans use alcohol to help them fall asleep.

But much to their dismay, it has an adverse effect.

signs of a drinking problem

Sleeping with alcohol in your system also affects something called the circadian rhythm.

Your circadian rhythm is an internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It repeats roughly every 24 hours.

Alcohol disrupts this cycle, and the effects of disrupting your circadian rhythm can be widespread, meaning that it doesn’t just affect sleep. 

Disrupting your circadian rhythm can also affect liver functioning, your gut, depression and more.

The fact of the matter is drinking does not improve sleep.

It has the complete opposite effect. It destroys people’s ability to have a good night of rest.

Even if the drinker has a few drinks and doesn’t have a hangover, there will be higher levels of fatigue, an inability to concentrate and increased irritability.

What Happens When You Stop Drinking?

Through speaking with hundreds of ex-drinkers, sleep improvements are one of the biggest benefits mentioned. People say things like:

“I have forgotten what a good night of rest feels like!”

For some people, it may take a few weeks (or even months) until they start sleeping better. But, eventually, they do.

However, many drinkers experience vivid dreams shortly after stopping drinking.

Dreams Of Drinking Alcohol

Dreaming about alcohol has happened to me on numerous occasions.

Each time, I would wake up in a complete state of panic. I just dreamt about drinking alcohol, and I thought it was real.

woke up from dream of drinking alcohol

I woke up ashamed, disappointed, and stressed. In each instance, it took me a few minutes to realise that what I had just experienced was a dream.

And then, relief. I couldn’t believe it.

Now, some people experience these dreams and worry that something is wrong with them.

Well, there are two things at play here.

  1. You are sleeping better. Your brain is going into REM sleep when it is supposed to, so you are dreaming more.
  2. You are dreaming about something that has been part of your life for years. There are parts of your brain that will not understand what is going on.

So, naturally, you’ll dream about alcohol.

What should you do about dreaming about alcohol?

Some people do find these dreams stressful.

However, when you wake up, you can use this as an opportunity to remind yourself that you’re free.

You can remind yourself that you’re finally free of the alcohol trap.

Remind yourself that these dreams have nothing to do with your subconscious mind telling you that you still want to drink.

It’s nothing to worry about, whatsoever.

Happy relaxed woman waking up early in the morning

It’s an unexplainable phenomenon that happens to almost all people that have given up drinking.

It has happened to me, and thousands of other ex-drinkers.

When you can finally understand that alcohol gives you absolutely nothing, use these dreams as an opportunity to celebrate your new-found freedom.


Alcohol helps people fall asleep quicker, but it affects soon wear off and the drinker needs to increase their consumption

Alcohol doesn’t improve the quality of your sleep, it destroys it

When you stop drinking, you may experience more vivid dreams

Some people think this is because of the improved REM sleep

If you are having dreams of alcohol, do not worry.

This is totally normal. It has happened to me, and thousands of other problem drinkers.

Use any dreams about alcohol as an opportunity to remind yourself that you’re free!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and if you want to access the free training I made that showed you how to make stopping drinking effortless and enjoyable, click here.



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