Research on the effects of alcohol on sleep dates back to the late 1930s. The literature described the effects of alcohol on sleep in healthy, non-alcoholic individuals.
For example, studies found that in nonalcoholics who occasionally consume alcohol, both high and low doses of alcohol initially improve sleep, although high doses of alcohol can lead to sleep disturbances in the second half of the nighttime sleep period. In addition, people may rapidly develop tolerance to the sedative effects of alcohol.
Researchers have compared the interactive effects of alcohol with other determinants of daytime sleepiness. Such studies suggest that alcohol interacts with sleep deprivation and sleep restriction to exacerbate the situation.
Sleep, Sleepiness and Alcohol Use (PDF file, loads automatically)