19 Oct 2022

‘Alcohol helps me sleep’ was a major limiting belief I held for years. I truly believed that a night cap would help me sleep. Yes it almost certainly did ‘knock me out’ but I was deluding myself, as the longer-term effects are quite the opposite.

Please put in the comments… how many hours sleep you are getting each night and whether or not you are alcohol-free.

Those who have made it this far into Go Sober This October should now be seeing the sleep benefits of alcohol-free living. I’m now almost two years sober and my relationship with sleep has never been better.

After I stopped drinking alcohol, I went from getting five hours of interrupted sleep, packed with anxiety attacks and trips to the loo, because I’d drunk too much alcohol and water to combat its effects, to around seven hours of non-stop sleeping like a baby. This all happened very quickly, over the first few weeks.

There were a few days at the start when I found it hard to sleep, with aches in my legs. But it was not painful, just annoying. I’m not sure if this was some form of physical withdrawal, but it soon disappeared when I started exercising regularly.

I have heard of other reasons why some people who stop drinking find themselves in the early days lying awake at night, including: the liver working overtime getting rid of toxins, missing the sedative affect alcohol can have and the drop in the amount of sugar (from alcohol) in the body.

When I was researching my book I found alcohol consumption can lead to real sleep problems including: waking up in the middle of the night, not being able to go back to sleep because of the anxiety it induces, less Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep – this is when the deepest stage of sleep occurs and nightmares, leading to a restless night.

The alcohol-free me falls asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I believe this is because I am more active and I am not hungover. I am back to how things should be naturally. The normal I’d got used to was based on drinking a litre of neat alcohol each week. Of course I was going to feel better when I stopped drinking.

My conclusion is that the alcohol-free me offers a great base on which to build the best sleeping habits. Improved sleep has led to more energy, more creativity, better attention, weight loss, massively reduced anxiety and stress, no feelings of depression, and there was something else… oh yes, better memory!


Here is a list of dos and don’ts I actioned to improve my sleep. Take a look and incorporate a few into your schedule. It could make a huge difference to your well-being.

Drink coffee. If you do, only drink it in the morning.

Take your phone to bed with you. Turn it off 15 minutes before you go to sleep or if you are using the alarm, put it on airplane mode.

Sleep in a room that’s too warm – it should be 10 degrees cooler than it is in the house in the daytime. Don’t leave central heating or electric fires on as you’ll wake up too hot in the middle of the night.

Eat too close to bedtime – this can give you heartburn.Exercise too close to bedtime – this can wake you up.

Sleep in. Once you have reached a workable bedtime and a consistent wake-up time, don’t allow yourself to stray from it.

Drink alcohol!

Dim the lights in your bedroom. Use a soft light to read.

Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Double line curtains. If you can’t black out the room, try a sleep mask.

Try earplugs if your area is noisy.

Exercise – it’s good for helping you sleep. Research shows that exercising in the morning leads to more deep sleep than afternoon exercise.

Meditate – it’s a good way to fall asleep.

Get up at the same time each day, even at weekends.



There’s a chapter on sleep in my book Walking Back To Happiness The Secret To Alcohol-free Living & Well-being. Each chapter has a “Steps You Can Take” section to help you on your journey to alcohol freedom. With over 75 steps in total.

© Copyright Nigel Jones 2022. The moral right of the author has been asserted. All rights reserved.


If you are questioning your alcohol consumption or already taking a break from it and seeing the huge benefits that brings please feel free to get in touch. You can contact me through


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