My 57-year-old mother has had sleep issues for her entire life, and alcohol is the only substance proven to help her sleep; nowadays it's the only way she sleeps at all. The rub is that instead of the typical reaction to alcohol before bed (crash, brief snooze, up and restless just a few hours later), it simply puts her to sleep with no overt ill effects. For as long as she has drank, it has always been this way. Due to this fluke, I can't find any information online about her condition.
She has about the equivalent of four shots of tequila a night mixed with other non-alcoholic beverages; in earlier years, it was half that. The phenomenon keeping her awake is the usual obsessive-compulsive female problem that many people have - being unable to turn her mind off or tell her body that it's time to rest. Over the past decades, she has tried nearly every sleep aid, muscle relaxer, and non-opiate pain medication on the market and never gotten any relief. Once out of desperation somewhat recently, she had a drink while taking Lunesta hoping to get some relief, but all it did was make her send angry Facebook messages in her sleep. However, without the nightcap, Lunesta did seem the most effective, helping her maintain a whopping 3 hours of sleep... with minimal REM time. The most unfortunate part of this is that she has a sky-high metabolism for medications, but despite their laughably small results, the side-effects invariably destroy her.
She did try for a long time (about 4 months) to not take any medications and also not drink a single drop of alcohol. She did not sleep at all. Period. Deprivation led to hallucinations, appetite loss, severe depression, and suicidal thoughts.
I am not here for support. I am here seeking information so I can help her stop drinking for good, like she wants to. Not only do I see the damage her drinking causes in every aspect of her life now, I am also emotionally exhausted from being around her when she's drunk and needs a shoulder to cry on about the exact same thing every night. If you know of anything at all that might help her replace or remove alcohol but still sleep, please, please reply.