Does beer make you sleepy?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question, “Does beer make you sleepy?” The reasons why it makes you sleepy and if beer makes you more sleepy than other alcoholic drinks.

Moreover, we will discuss if the effects of beer are the same for everyone, how you can drink beer without having sleep problems and how to avoid feeling sleepy after drinking.

Does beer make you sleepy? 

Beer may make you sleepy due to its alcohol content, which affects the brain in two ways. Initially, alcohol can make you feel sleepy and tired after a few hours. However, after this initial effect wears off, you may feel more alert and have difficulty falling asleep.

Even if you took a nap or you had enough sleep the night before drinking or going out, you may feel tired and sleepy (1).

Why does beer make you sleepy?

Beer makes you sleep because it contains alcohol, which affects your entire body, particularly your brain and central nervous system.

Within 20 minutes, the alcohol is absorbed by your digestive system into your bloodstream. 

Once alcohol enters your bloodstream, it is transported to the brain where it affects the secretion of a specific inhibitory neurotransmitter called GABA, (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which helps promote relaxation. 

Alcohol enhances GABA secretion which can increase the relaxation effect and promote a feeling of sleepiness.

However, alcohol also stimulates the secretion of epinephrine, which is a stress hormone. Usually, stress hormones increase the heart rate and can make it difficult to fall asleep

Additionally, in the long term, and after several hours, you may feel full of energy, especially with higher consumption of beer.

Remember, you might think that alcohol makes you sleep, but it will affect the quality of your sleep, and you will get up the next morning exhausted (1,2).

Why does beer make you more sleepy than other alcoholic drinks?

Beer makes you more sleepy than other alcoholic drinks because of the hops, which are the dried flowers of the hop plant. It is one of the main ingredients, along with the beer’s grains, yeast, and water.

Hops can induce several effects, including increased relaxation and decreased anxiety and insomnia. These effects, combined with the impact of alcohol on enhancing GABA secretion, can improve the feeling of sleepiness (3).

Are the effects of beer the same for everyone?

No, some people will be affected more than others by the alcohol from beer since every person can metabolize alcohol differently.

People with lower body weights will typically feel the effects of alcohol more quickly and intensely than those with higher body weights, even if they consume the same amount of alcohol. This is one of the reasons why women are more sensitive to alcohol, as they tend to have a lower weight than men. 

Genetics also play a role in how our bodies process alcohol. Some people have genetic variations that cause them to metabolize alcohol more slowly, leading to a higher blood alcohol concentration and increased sensitivity to its effects.

Tolerance is another factor that can influence how a person experiences the effects of beer. Regular drinkers may develop a tolerance to alcohol, requiring more to achieve the same effects as someone who drinks less frequently.

The ingestion of food can also affect the effects of beer. For example, consuming beer on an empty stomach can lead to a faster increase in blood alcohol concentration, while consuming it with food can slow down the absorption rate and reduce the peak blood alcohol concentration. 

Finally, individual metabolism rates can impact how quickly alcohol is processed and eliminated from the body. A faster metabolism may result in a person feeling the effects of alcohol for a shorter period, while a slower metabolism may prolong the effects.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with beer is unique, and it’s essential to consume it responsibly and be aware of your limits (1).



How can I drink beer without having sleep problems? 3 Tips for Enjoying Beer Without Disrupting Your Sleep

You can drink beer and still avoid problems in your night’s sleep. So, follow these tips for enjoying beer without disrupting your sleep:

Ensure at least 4 hours between your drink and your bedtime. 

Providing the needed time for your body to get rid of alcohol is necessary to ensure you have a good night’s sleep.

Empty your bladder before sleeping. 

You may need to pee again during the night because of the diuretic effect of beer, but going before bed can give you more time.

Avoid combining beer with caffeine drinks. 

Drinks like rum and Coke can keep you awake. Caffeine makes you feel less drunk, so you drink more (4)

How to avoid feeling sleepy after drinking?

To avoid being sleepy after drinking, drink in moderation and do not exceed the limits. Also, before drinking beer or any other alcoholic beverage, plan to eat a meal rich in proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fat, and avoid drinking on an empty stomach.

However, drink a low-alcohol beverage, and if you feel that beer is making you sleepy, consider substituting it with another drink because the hop in the beer might be the reason (1).

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed the question, “Does beer make you sleepy?” The reasons why it makes you sleepy, and if beer makes you more sleepy than other alcoholic drinks.

Moreover, we discussed if the effects of beer are the same for everyone, how you can drink beer without having sleep problems and how to avoid feeling sleepy after drinking.

Citations

1. Alcohol and Sleep. Sleep Foundation. 2020 

2. Britton A, Fat LN, Neligan A. The association between alcohol consumption and sleep disorders among older people in the general population. Sci Rep. 2020 Mar 24;10(1):5275.

3. Salter S, Brownie S. Treating primary insomnia – the efficacy of valerian and hops. Aust Fam Physician. 2010 Jun;39(6):433–7.

4. Marhuenda J, Villaño D, Arcusa R, Zafrilla P. Melatonin in Wine and Beer: Beneficial Effects. Mol Basel Switz. 2021 Jan 11;26(2):343.