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BACtrack Answers: Why Do I Sometimes Wake Up Early After a Night of Drinking?

Anyone having consumed alcohol in the evening knows that it can act as a sedative. Some folks even have a drink at bedtime to help them sleep. But if you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night or early morning and wondered why, here’s the answer.

Doctors Timothy Roehrs and Thomas Roth of the Henry Ford Sleep Disorders Center conducted a study on alcohol's effect on sleep1. The study found that while alcohol may be good at getting you to go to sleep, it also does a number on the second half of your sleep cycle. 

The body, as smart as it is, makes certain adjustments to the amount of REM sleep you experience once it detects alcohol in the system. However, once all the alcohol is metabolized by your body, these previously made adjustments to the sleep cycle continue, which results in you waking up. They call it the re-bound effect. 

Let's look at an example. Maureen goes to bed at midnight, when her BACtrack S80 Pro tells her that her BAC is 0.06%. Given that the average person processes alcohol at about 0.015% per hour, it should take Maureen about four hours to metabolize all the alcohol in her system. There's a good chance she’ll wake up, at least momentarily, at 4am.

Want to have a complete and undisturbed night’s sleep? Use a BACtrack Breathalyzer to ensure you are at 0.00% BAC before you hit the hay and wake up rested!

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