Alcohol is often used by people to help them fall asleep. Although it can help induce sleep, alcohol provides a transient sedative effect, causing people to wake during the night and then have a hard time getting back to sleep again. As a result, the recuperative nature of sleep is reduced and the percentage of REM sleep increases.
Alcohol also increases the occurrence of other sleep disorders such as snoring, sleep apnea, periodic limb movements and sleepwalking. All of these present varying health risks.
Some prescription drugs contain stimulants that work on the brain’s receptors. These include amphetamines that are often used in drugs that treat ADHD and sleep disorders, as well as certain antidepressants such as fluoxetine (branded as Prozac or Sarafem). Consequently, a side effect of these often popular drugs is sleep disruption.
Branded Prozac and Sarafem are trademarked by Eli Lilly and Company.