Sleeping Pills and Alcohol: Effects & Treatment

Sleeping Pills and Alcohol
Mature man sleeping at the table after drinking alcohol drinks during the party

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 70 million Americans have severe sleep problems. It also reported that from 2017 to 2018, just over 8% of adults aged 18 years or older admit to taking medication as a means to help them sleep.

Sleeping pills are a popular way in which people seek relief from sleep disorders. Alcohol also has a sedative effect. Some people have a nightcap, which is a drink before bed to help them sleep.

But is mixing sleeping pills and alcohol before bed an advisable practice?

The Sedative Power Of Alcohol 

There is no doubt that alcohol can help you relax and feel drowsy. Research has shown that it provides a sedative effect on the central nervous system.

A small amount of alcohol can, at first, be a great sleep agent. The danger lies in the fact that the body starts to build tolerance for alcohol. That means you will need increasing amounts of alcohol to drift off to sleep. There is also the risk that a dependency on alcohol is developed.

When you start taking an excessive amount of alcohol, it may prevent you from sleeping. Research shows that high levels of alcohol may negatively affect neurotransmitters in the brain that help one sleep. So, there is the possibility that alcohol can cause insomnia.

Getting Sleep Through Medication

For those suffering from a sleep disorder, sleeping pills can provide relief. Yet, they need to be considered as a short-term solution. Like any other type of medication, there is the possibility that people create an addiction to sleeping pills.

This heightens the chance of the pills being abused or an individual overdoses. Indications that someone may be overdosing on sleeping pills are:

  • Feeling extremely lethargic
  • Clumsiness
  • Trouble with breathing
  • Abdominal pain

Symptoms of abusing this medication are:

  • Having a dry mouth
  • Drowsiness during the day
  • Feeling dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Coordination problems
  • Impaired memory
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Slow breathing rate

Becoming reliant on the sleeping pills as a way to help you get some rest, or consistently using up the medication before the end of the prescription period can be taken as additional warning signs that you are abusing the pills.

Another effect that the pills may offer is a euphoric sensation. That can also be a motivation for people to misuse the medicine to try and get that high.

Why Is It Dangerous To Combine Alcohol With A Sleeping Pill?

As we mentioned, sleeping pills have the potential to provide someone with an ecstatic feeling. Alcohol also shares this characteristic. Both sleeping pills and alcohol act as a sedative that allows one to relax and get a good sleep.

For people struggling with insomnia, there can be the temptation to combine sleeping pills with beer to enhance the sedative nature both provide.

Individuals who are chasing drug-induced highs may mix both substances. Doing so may increase the euphoric sensation they are seeking. Yet, the negative side effects can also be intensified when taking alcohol and sleeping pills simultaneously. Poor coordination opens the way for a major, or even fatal, accident to occur. Heart rate and breathing can both drop to dangerously low levels.

If You Drink You Need To Wait Before Taking Your Medicine 

If you are prescribed sleeping pills as an aid to help you, it is still possible to have alcohol. However, you want to wait until the alcohol has left your system. How long that period is all depends on the amount of alcohol you have consumed.

A cautious time frame is to wait at least 8 hours after your last drink before you take your sleeping pills.


For those who suffer from sleep deprivation issues, sleeping pills are a way to help get much-needed rest. Alcohol may also be considered due to the sedative effect that it can provide. However, the small nightcap that helps one nod off can turn into an increasing number of drinks as tolerance to alcohol builds.

Mixing sleeping pills with alcohol may be seen as a way to increase the positive effects both substances offer, especially for those who have insomnia. On the other hand, the potential health risks such as lower heart rate decreased breathing, and coordination problems are also enhanced when mixing alcohol with medicinal sleep aids.

If you find it hard to get to sleep at night, seek medical advice. For those who are currently on a prescription of sleeping pills, wait at least 8 hours after your last drink before taking the medicine.

  1. It’s very dangerous for one to take drugs with alcohol. This is a lifesaving information. Thanks to detox always.

  2. This is why I do not drink at all. Drinking excessively by itself is already an issue. Mix that with something else and you get twice the issue. Besides alcohol already forces you to sleep I do not get the need for pills honestly!!!!

  3. This is informative and educative. Those who have sleeping pills should seek medical counsel rather than treating it themselves. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you d as o much detox for always finding out time to teach proper treatment for addiction. This surely cane in very handy.

  5. This is so educative and informative not forgetting that it’s well detailed. No I can proudly say I know the bad effect of combing sedative pills and alcohol

  6. I don’t think it is good to have alcohol with drugs. so those that can’t do without alcohol should heed to the advice of staying at least 8 hours before taking sleeping pills.

  7. It isn’t even wise to use both alcohol and sleeping pills. The two are sedative and should be avoided a combination. People need to beware.

  8. Thank you for sharing,I just know the effects of mixing sleeping pills and alcohol and that really dangerous to our body

  9. This is a Great Article which contains relevant Information.
    Sleeping Pills and Alcohol taken within the same Period can cause Harm to the Body System.
    These Treatments Is Proved to be Effective.

  10. Thanks for this very enlightening article. I have never known or considered that sleeping pills and alcohol shares similar properties and joint usage heightens the effects.

  11. I never Knew Sleeping pills mixed with Alcohol could cause Symptoms like this.
    Thanks for this wonderful Information

  12. I have always known that alcohol has a sedative effect, so I see no reason why it should be taken along side sleeping pill. To me that would be an overdose of sedatives.

  13. Sleeping pills must be taken as given by a doctor. Taking it with other drugs and most especially alcohol really dangerous.

  14. Wow! learnt that both sleeping pills and alcohol both have a sedative effect in the body which can be catastrophic and should be avoided at all costs. Thanks for the wonderful article, will ensure I teach someone else this in due time.

  15. Sleeping pills aren’t helping the matter. I’ve been using it for a while cos I couldn’t sleep. Alcohol will worsen the situation.

  16. I definitely don’t need any more convincing. Mixing alcohol and sleeping pills is bad and should be publicly addressed.

  17. This article contains a lot fact. When the body system is acquainted to these, it will develop resistance and this will be dangerous to our body system.

  18. Combination of sleeping pills and alcohol is deadly for those that does it. Everyone must be careful for every action and inaction.

  19. Getting sleep naturally is the best. Sleep is meant to relax the body and nerves and not agitate or paralyze them via a mixture with alcohol. Thanks for this beautiful piece though.

  20. It is always good to take and utilize doctors instructions of no self medication. Combining sleeping pills and alcohol together is like pouring petrol in fire.

  21. It has been told in this blog that we get relaxation from alcohol, I disagree a little on this. yes but we enjoyed reading the method of treatment. Thanks for sharing this blog.

    1. Taking alcohol and sleeping pills separately has its side effects more or less mixing these two substances together. Whatever ailment one has, it is important to seek a medical practitioner and desist from self medication.

  22. Thank you Detax to rehab for sharing these type of stories with all of us.These stories are really very much inspirational for many people.

    1. Thanks for sharing this information. It’s really bad to take drugs with alcohol. I hope more people get to read and learn from this

  23. Thanks for the post..I don’t understand why people take sleeping pills and alcohol at the same time.. ignorance kills..even if you want to take both, it’s better to wait till the alcohol leaves your system before taking sleeping pills. Hope this article get to a lot of people because this information is crucial. I’m going to share the article with my friends

  24. Taking too much of sleeping pills has its effects has tremendous negative effect on users. Combining it with alcohol makes it more dangerous for users. Its better to follow the steps above to feel safe from such effects.

  25. Using Alcohol is NEVER a good option to deal with loneliness! I use antidepressants in order to help me relax. I am also suffering from behavioral addiction and antidepressants help me to deal with my addiction. Unfortunately, my body also develops tolerance to antidepressants as well.

  26. The consequences of combining alcohol and sleeping pills are now obvious through the informative article. In view of this, it is advisable to abstain from the drug addiction.

  27. I do not really like the idea or advice people to combine both. Sleeping pill and alcohol are both sedative. They slow down the CNS.
    Too much of this combination is risky and hazardous. Shouldn’t be used on as a long term solution or one might never wake up from sleep because of the breathing problem associated.

  28. Thanks for sharing this information. It’s really bad to take drugs with alcohol. I hope more people get to read and learn from this

  29. It’s never a good idea to combine two drugs that both have the potential to make you dependent. Awesome informative write up this is.

  30. As a person who has used sleeping pills before I can testify that mixing them with alcohol is the worst idea. It does way more harm than good.

  31. The article is quite informative some people really use the combination of two which is quite harmful, as discussed here.

  32. It’s not advisable to take alcohol with sleeping pills or any drugs at all.
    I believe people should take responsibility for their well being… Thanks for the post.

  33. The two are sedative and should be avoided as a combination. People need to beware. Too much of this combination is risky and hazardous. Shouldn’t be used as a long-term solution or one might never wake up from sleep because of the breathing problem associated.

  34. Overdosing with sleeping pills is dangerous itself already. Then what more when mixed with alcohol. This is very dangerous to anyone.

  35. I totally agree that neither alcohol nor medication is the remedy for lack of sleep. This is because they can lead to addiction and other negative side effects than even lack of sleep itself.

  36. I believe, it’s dangerous to mix any kind of pills/drugs with alcohol. To help me with sleep, I just love using herbs. Like ginger & pandan leaf.

  37. The effect is really bad when alcohol and sleeping pills are combined. You can become dependent on the drug. It is necessary to inform others to avoid its bad effects.

  38. This is very informative article for all people who are suffering from drugs and alcohol. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  39. Regular taking of any drug is not even advisable to avoid addiction…

    While the mixture of these is never a Yes…

    I pray God gives us a sound health

  40. This is one the greatest information. It is not advisable to take sleeping pills with alcohol because it causes a great havoc.

  41. Well stated facts, I never tried taking pills before to enable me sleep. I’ve always found time sleeping when it is appropriate for me without struggling to sleep. I work long in the day as such, my body gets tired and whenever I take my showers I head over to sleeping.

  42. Mixing sleeping pills and alcohol is definitely a dangerous combination. One must exercise caution if one is taking medication for his or her sleeping disorder and is also drinking on the side. Too much of anything really is detrimental to one’s health.

  43. Taking alcohol and sleeping pills is more harmful to people’s health. As a result, people should desist from this unwholesome habit for a healthy living.

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