Your Alcohol is Wrecking Your Sleep… (and so is Your Weed)

2 min read

My lovely wife approached me after work one day with a book in hand.

"Will you do this with me?"

She caught me off guard with the hard pitch and was waiting for an answer.

The cover looked awfully healthy and that wasn't how I was trying to live at that time. But how hard can it be. It's just 21 days.

"Sure. I'm in."

Then once she had buy in she hit me with the fine print.

"But you know it also means no alcohol... and I want to do it for 30 days."

Bravo. Somebody get her into a sales role.

At that time in my life I had a schedule that mostly looked like:

  • Sales meetings to win new customers over drinks
  • Drinks with existing clients to keep them happy
  • Recruiting new team members over drinks
  • Keeping existing team members happy over drinks
  • Conference in Vegas with a lot of drinks
  • Pitching angel investors my side hustle over drinks

She had me hogtied with commitment and consistency persuasion

As Cialdini says:

Put ’em on paper. Get the customer’s OK on paper. Get the money up front. Control ’em. Control the deal. Ask ’em if they would buy the car right now if the price is right. Pin ’em down.

So I casually said "Got it. Lets do it."

Week 1

I'm sleeping like shit. Worse than ever. But I didn't expect this sugar detox to do anything for my sleep anyway and I just chalked it up to a lack of a night cap to help me wind down from the modern rat race.

I start taking melatonin every night to get some sleep.

Week 2

Same. Sleeping like shit. Melatonin helps.

Week 3

Same. Sleeping like shit. Thinking about how we'd be done with this stupid detox if we were following the instructions for 21 days on the cover.



At day 21 I start sleeping. Really sleeping. I'm sleeping like I'm a child again. Laying down, going to sleep, not getting up in the middle of the night, and waking rested. The whole enchilada.

Now over the next week it didn't happen every night but it happened more frequently than the prior 16 years which had netted me about zero great nights. It would take more work to smooth out the consistency on my new drowsy super power. More about that in the next chapters.

By the end of the 30 days I'm feeling fantastic. I'm recharged and my mind feels so much sharper during the day. I actually look forward to going to bed.

Detox Over

We end the 30 days with a beach trip which includes beach beers.

Of course the insomnia comes right back and even if I abstain some days during the week I notice it's still rough sleeping.

After a few months back at my regular sales/recruiting/team morale schedule I start to reminisce about the great sleep from the 30 day sugar detox.

I'm going for a longer experiment... 90 days

Just like last time the first 3 weeks were rough sleep and I got by with melatonin. And like clockwork right at the 21 day mark my sleep snapped back in and I was regularly having solid sleep nights maybe 5 out of 7 nights of the week.

After 90 days it feels like my brain plasticity is on steroids from all the sleep and I'm operating with efficiency and productivity I've not seen in years.

I push the experiment to a year...

then 2 years...

and now it's been over 5 years and the sleep is too good to go back.

My Rating

I rate zero alcohol very high for impact and confidence due to the repeatable experiment outcomes and stark contrast between insomnia and real sleep I experienced. Even when I went back for the longer experiment I was only cutting alcohol, not other sugars and in fact I increased by total carb intake. It would be another year before I'd explore low carb diet changes to improved sleep but we will talk about that in a later chapter.

  • Influence

  • Degree of Confidence


What About Weed... You Mentioned Weed in the Title?

This section of the page doesn't fit with the rest of the model of the site where I tell my personal story of improved sleep. I don't use marijuana. However, I have several friends that currently use it or have stopped regular use and they tell me they have experienced similar sleep disruption. It's particularly notable among those friends who have stopped weed usage. And the research points to similar problems with sleep where chronic weed usage is shown to result in disrupted REM, shortened REM, and less sleep quality.