The sober dreams of a regular drinker.

I am a regular drinker. I drink like I eat. Right now I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve lived a productive life for many years while regularly drinking. Any discussion about the negative side of my habit is for another thread. This is for a different purpose.

Occasionally I ‘skip’ the drinking. It takes me a while to get to sleep, and when I do it begins as mere minutes of dreamsleep seperated by seconds of wakefulness. Before long the sleep/dream periods are longer and easier to stay in (in the early period I am too conscious of what is going on and keep jolting myself awake)

I would give my left (dominant) arm if I could describe those longer dream periods in a way that would convey the sureality and quality of them. During that time my mind is free of waking constraints, and it seems to go to the edge of insanity in creating my consciousness and dream experience. Most of the time I feel confused and my logic is warped. But I tell you this - it’s better than the routine drudgery of wakefulness! Confusion and terror, to me, are a league above routine and boredom!

I’m with you. True ‘sober sleep’ only happens at least 48 hours after the last drink. And it’s vivid - very vivid. At least in comparison. (I’ve also been through prescription-drug-induced horrific nightmares, so I find the natural vividness acceptable.)

What I find is that sober dreams are far more likely to have ‘things’ from real life intrude or make appearances, whereas alcohol-influenced dreams are pure fantasy…is that just me?

For me, alcohol-influenced dreams are extremely rare. If I’m drinking I just pass out, and then wake 8 hours later in a fairly pleasant stupor.
Funny you mention things from real life intruding. I can remember at least one of this morning’s dreams (which inspired this thread) incorporated a sound that was happening IRL seamlessly.

Okay off topic here, but perhaps do you suffer from sleep apnea? I knew a man who did, not too terribly but enough to jolt him awake many times a night. When other mundane stuff didnt work, his doctor found that ordering him to drink a couple of beers before bed fixed the situation. Just a thought.

I’m not sure if it’s the same thing that you’re talking about or not but I usually consciously observe that my regular thoughts give way to dream thoughts within the same subject matter until it gets weirder and weirder. Then I jolt awake.

This confuses me because I always thought it took some time to reach a dream state.

I don’t know if drinking has anything to do with it but I also drink regularly (and am satisfied by that).

I have a ahem friend (no, seriously) who’s been smoking weed regularly for a long time. He’s quit due to health reasons, and the most significant change he’s reported is how vivid his dreams have become. I and a couple other friends can confirm from experience that after smoking regularly (daily, I guess), and then not smoking, that dreams get other-fuggin’-worldly strange. My friend isn’t enjoying it much, says he wakes himself up with the weirdest shit still floating through his head. I’ve never been personally disturbed to any great degree by my “sober dreams”, but I can attest that they are really damn real feeling.

A question for y’all. . .

. . . I too am a regular drinker, but I’ve noticed that I *regularly wake up at, like 1:AM, then 2:30AM, then 4:AM, then 4:30AM, and finally 10 minutes before my alarm clock goes off at 5:30AM. This has been going on for the past year and a half. At first, I thought it was stress related. Then it was actual physical noise waking me up regularly at 4:AM (jet engines), and for the past 9 months, it’s just been a regular thing. I’m wondering if I’ll sleep better if I quit imbibing on “school nights”.

Anyone else get this? Have you been able to sleep better without a beer or two? And no, I’m not kidding. A year and a half.


  • Note: I’ve been outta skool for nigh on 5 years now. . .

I guess I just don’t drink all that often, since my “sober dreams” are really just a slight increase in my normal dream activity (which is normally almost nil, especially when I haven’t been drinking for several weeks.) They begin about 2 days after I stop drinking. Then again, my “almost-dreams” in a near-sleep state are slightly more realistic, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them vivid since they are more just extremely clear thoughts that happen in a near-sleep state rather than complete, vivid dreams.

However, I can attest to other chemicals altering the character of dreams. Melatonin, for me, makes dreams much more vivid and frequent and WEIRD, much moreso than an alcohol-abatement state. Opiates make dreams slightly more vivid, slightly more frequent, and IN COLOR. With opiates, however, occasionally I would just slip into an extremely vivid dream-like state right out of wakefulness. One wonders what would happen if one mixed the two chemicals! (One might also wonder about the synergistic effect of also consuming a certain dissociative found in cough medicine, although this might produce an unacceptably severe combinatorial depressant action upon the breathing.)

(Please don’t hurt me. I’m a newbie. I brought my own goat…she’s over there with the…tentacles?)

The way I learned it is it’s a variation on “what goes up must come down.” Except in your case, you’re drinking alcohol all the time. And it’s a depressant. So when you’re off it, you come “up.” That’s why it’s harder to sleep (and the dreams are more vivid) when you’re sober. That’s also why people sometimes wake up frequently or early after drinking.

(It’s also the reason people addicted to cocaine - an upper - are at higher risk for suicide after they quit.)

Another “regular” drinker here*****.

My money is on alcohol suppressing REM sleep, when you give your sleeping brain a break from the booze it tries to make up for lost time. Now I’m a less (ahem) regular drinker I find I have (or at least remember) more of my dreams, tho’ none are as extreme as some booze-related ones. . .

One thing I used to get when I was a very regular drinker, was that if I’d only had a maintenance dose (ie: not enough to keep me out for the duration) I would almost always get night terrors at some point in the early morning. It got to the point that the “terror” wore off, I’d just be there paralysed in a weird nightmare thinking “oh, hey that again”.
***** I like the regular word Lobsang, hope it keeps the preachers away.

Happened quite a few times now. I drink and smoke daily and I feel if I drink less or none and don’t smoke, I toss and turn all night and it ends with me Waking up out of it and dissoriented. Extremely vivid and detailed they are. Random, scary and pointless. Gotta be the drugs…
I had a series of Dreams this morning seeming like they lasted days. Over 5 different “scenes” all weirder and more real as it went. I can’t control myself when I’m in them But when I realize I’m dreaming I remind myself to blink my eyes rapidly to wake. I do it everytime. When I wake I can hardly contain myself from hyperventilating. I feel so shook all day long. To scared to go back to sleep. What’s wrong with me. I can do without that!!
You all make me feel like I’m not crazy.

I think there’s something to this. I drink pretty regularly and sleep like a baby at night (although I don’t get enough sleep, for sure). On the rare occasion that I get a nap in the afternoon, I have extremely vivid and unpleasant nightmares from which I wake frequently, often with a jolt or a start.

I quit drinking almost 3 months ago (yay me!), and I’ve noticed having not only a bunch of weird dreams, but storming random thoughts in between. I actually hate that part of it. I wish my brain would just STFU, already.

ZOMBIE BEER! Look out!