Anyone who has ever dealt with the grips of addiction knows how destructive the effects it has on a person’s life. Substance abuse disrupts all areas of your life including relationships, finances, mental and physical health, and sleep is no exception. Sleep problems are very common among people who suffer from addiction. Poor sleep habits not only occur while you are using drugs, but it also occurs during withdrawal and even months or years into a person’s recovery. According to SAMHSA:
The types of sleep problems vary by substance used and can include insomnia, sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), disturbances in sleep cycles and sleep continuity, or hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness).
Getting enough sleep is important for staying sober because you’ll feel much better if you have enough rest. It’s also a good indicator of practicing self-care and giving your body the energy it needs to function every day.
Find Out Which Sleep Disorder You’re Experiencing
It is first important to know what sleep disorder could be ailing you before you can find the proper techniques to fix it. Fortunately, just as you can recover from addiction, you can also recover from poor sleep habits and sleep disorders. These sleep disorders can include:
- Insomnia: regular difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and it is very common in both addiction and recovery.
- Hypersomnia: excessive sleepiness or frequent oversleeping.
- Parasomnia: includes sleep behaviors like sleepwalking or nightmares.
- Sleep apnea: a breathing disorder where a person momentarily stops breathing during sleep.
- Restless leg syndrome: when an individual experiences an uncomfortable sensation in the lower limbs, that can only be remedied by moving them.
Sleep Habits During Withdrawal
Sleep habits can have very serious effects on the physical, emotional, and mental state of people in recovery and can also have a negative impact on people in substance abuse treatment. Persistent sleep complaints during and after withdrawal are associated with relapse and play a very important role in a healthy recovery. It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider on what you should be doing regarding the following:
- Ask questions about your difficulty falling asleep and your current sleep habits, including how much you sleep, how restful you get to sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, or other problems you might have.
- Determine if any medications you use for substance abuse treatment and whether your sleep problems could be side effects of those medications.
- Rule out any other causes like stress.
- Keep a log of your sleep habits.
Tips for Improving Sleep Habits in Early Recovery
One of the best things you can do in early recovery to alleviate stress is to have a good night’s sleep, but that’s not always easily done. There are many techniques and treatments you can try to improve your sleep habits including:
- Getting help from others. It’s helpful to try opening up and talking to someone about what you need help with. This can include peers, a support group, or a therapist.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A psychotherapy system that helps the patient recognize negative behavioral patterns contributing to their problem.
- Good sleep hygiene. Do things like following a regular sleep schedule, keeping your room a sleep mindful environment, avoid caffeine later in the day, and turning off electronics before bed.
- Follow a regular sleep schedule by sticking to the same time you wake and get ready to sleep each day.
- Bright light therapy involves sitting in front of an artificial light box that mimics the strength of sunlight. Exposure to light can offset fatigue. You can also do this by spending more time outside in the sunlight.
- Exercising to get out excess energy and tire, you’re your body in preparation for sleep.
- Healthy diet by avoiding heavy meals before bed and overall eating healthier.
- Manage stress and anxiety by using tricks like mindful meditation. This puts you in a state of restful, present-moment alertness, which reduces stress.
The best and safest option to getting a jumpstart of your addiction and all of the effects associated with it is by the use of one of the many treatment programs we offer at Recreate. We offer partial care and outpatient treatment programs that provide therapeutic education and guidance for each individual in order to help them reintegrate into society in a step-down process. With the help of our team of therapists, we offer one on one, group therapy, as well as many other specialized options to fit each person’s needs.
Addiction and the baggage that comes with it isn’t an easy thing to face. Luckily you do not have to face it on your own. Our admissions counselors and addiction professionals are available around the clock. We are ready to help you or a loved one overcome the disease of addiction. Let us help you change your life!