a decrease in sleep onset


Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
Sleep has a characteristic pattern in adults, known as sleep architecture, as measured by an electroencephalogram. The two most prominent components include slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Alcohol has an initial stimulant effect among nonalcoholics, followed by a decrease in sleep onset. This prompts many to use alcohol as a sleep inducer.
(C. Herrick, C. A. Herrick; 100 Questions & Answers About Alcoholism)

Would you be so kind as to tell to me whether 'a decrease in sleep onset' shouldn't by any chance mean 'the 'ability' to transition from wakefulness into sleep decreases' (hence one wouldn't presumably use it as a sleep inducer, quite to the contrary)?

  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    i believe that they are using "sleep onset" here to refer to a period, and a decrease in this period therefore means that you fall asleep more quickly.


    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, it means "decrease in sleep onset time".

    The text is also inaccurate - alcohol has no stimulant effect in the brain. It's a depressant of brain function, hence the effect on wakefulness. Any apparent stimulant effect is a result of the depression of higher brain function - resulting in disinhibition.
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