Why Does Wine Make Me Sleepy But Not Liquor

When it comes to indulging in a glass of wine or a sip of alcohol, each person has their own personal tastes. While some individuals may feel drowsy after drinking wine, others may not notice …

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When it comes to indulging in a glass of wine or a sip of alcohol, each person has their own personal tastes. While some individuals may feel drowsy after drinking wine, others may not notice the same reaction. As someone who appreciates wine, I have often pondered the reasons behind its ability to make me feel more tired than liquor. In this article, I will dive into the potential explanations for this occurrence, examining the different components of wine and their potential role in its ability to induce sleepiness.

The Role of Alcohol Content

One of the primary factors that can influence how alcohol affects our body is its alcohol content. Both wine and liquor contain alcohol, but they do so in different concentrations. Typically, wine has a lower alcohol content compared to liquor. The alcohol content in wine usually ranges from 12% to 15%, while liquors can have alcohol levels as high as 40% or more.

When we consume alcohol, it enters our bloodstream and affects our central nervous system. Higher alcohol content in liquor can lead to a more immediate and pronounced effect on the body, including a feeling of relaxation and, in some cases, increased alertness. On the other hand, the relatively lower alcohol content in wine may result in a more gradual and mellow effect, which can lead to feelings of drowsiness.

Natural Sedative Properties

While alcohol is the primary contributor to the sleep-inducing effects of wine, there are other components that may also play a role. One such element is the presence of natural sedatives in certain wines. For example, red wine contains a compound called melatonin, which is known to regulate sleep cycles. It is worth noting that the concentration of melatonin in wine is relatively low, but it may still contribute to the overall relaxing effect.

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Additionally, certain red wines, such as those made from the grape variety Cabernet Sauvignon, contain higher levels of a natural compound called resveratrol. Studies have shown that resveratrol may have relaxing and sleep-enhancing properties. However, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of its effects on sleep.

Other Factors to Consider

It is important to remember that individual differences can also play a significant role in how alcohol affects each person. Factors such as body weight, metabolism, tolerance, and overall health can influence how one responds to alcohol. Additionally, the context in which alcohol is consumed, such as the presence of food or other substances, may also impact its effects on the body.


While there is no definitive answer as to why wine may make some individuals feel sleepier compared to liquor, it is likely a combination of factors at play. The lower alcohol content in wine, along with the presence of natural sedatives like melatonin and resveratrol, may contribute to its relaxing and sleep-inducing effects. However, individual differences and other contextual factors should also be considered.

As a wine enthusiast, I have come to appreciate the unique qualities that different types of wines and liquors offer. Whether it’s the deep, complex flavors of a full-bodied red or the bold, smoky notes of a fine whiskey, each drink provides its own distinct experience. So, the next time you find yourself feeling a bit drowsy after enjoying a glass of wine, remember that it’s not just your imagination – there may be scientific reasons behind it!

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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