Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hey there! Welcome to Life Noggin! Gettin kinda sleepy. I'm still gonna do the episode, but wow i'm tired. Many of my human friends out there like hitting the hay after a few drinks. The numbers can differ, but it's thought that about 20% of Americans use alcohol as a way to fall asleep. That begs the question — is drunk sleep bad for you? Well first off, let's take a look at why people use alcohol to help them fall asleep anyway. While alcohol is often known for the way it can change someone's behavior or mood— like my friend over here— alcohol can also have sedative effects on the body, which may make you fall asleep more quickly. That said, regularly depending on alcohol to help you fall asleep may result in alcohol dependence, and if you can't relax or fall asleep without drinking, then that's a sign of alcohol use disorder, or AUD. AUD is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that's defined by compulsively using alcohol, losing control over how much alcohol you drink, and having a negative emotional state when you're not using. In general, it's not a good idea to use alcohol as a sleep aid since it's thought to ultimately lead to restless nights. One study found that clinical investigations seem to support a relationship between sleep disturbance and alcohol use. In their search, researchers looked at over 100 relevant articles, 60 of which included quantitative measures of both sleep and alcohol use. Another big thing about drunk sleep is that alcohol can alter your circadian rhythms, which is part of the body's biological clock. Chronic circadian rhythm disruptions have been associated with an increased incidence of cancer. Your levels of melatonin, that hormone that's associated with your sleep cycles, can also be suppressed. One study found that young adults who consumed alcohol had their melatonin levels reduced by 19 percent after 3 hours. But that's not all that can be suppressed. An older study back in 1980 found that your growth hormone levels may also be on the chopping block because of alcohol. Among other things, growth hormone aids in regulating body composition by stimulating tissue growth, like with your muscles and bones. So yeah, suppressing it doesn't sound good at all. And on a bit of a lighter note — before we get into something pretty serious — if you go to bed drunk, you could find yourself on the can throughout the night more than usual. Since alcohol is a diuretic, you might need to get up multiple times in the night to...well, urinate. But, if you go so far as to get alcohol poisoning, things can get pretty bad really quickly. Drink too much and your gag reflex, which helps prevent choking, can be impaired. This means that if you pass out after a heavy night of drinking then it's possible you could choke on your own throw up, leading to death. That's why it's really dangerous to binge drink and why anyone that does needs to be monitored — especially if they go to sleep. You really should avoid binge drinking, but even if you have only a small to moderate amount of alcohol, how long should you wait until going to bed? Well, it's typically recommended that you finish drinking any alcohol about 3 of 4 hours before you nod off. The general idea here is that it takes about 1 hour for your body to metabolize a single serving of alcohol. So, to all my friends out there, if you want to have a few drinks, it's probably best to try and not go to bed drunk. Maybe have a nacho party with all your friends? Whoa! Hey, hold on buddy, they're just chips! So are there any other sleep related questions you have that you want me to answer? Let me know in the comment section below and your question could become a future video! Curious to know what would happen if we only took naps? Check out this video! A twenty minute naps improves your alertness and mood without making you feel disoriented because you stay in the lightest sleeping stage. While a longer nap lasting thirty minutes to an hour will get you into the deeper sleeping stages. As always my name is Blocko, this has been Life Noggin, don't forget to keep on thinking!