Quality sleep can be challenging to come by, especially for those in the earliest stages of addiction recovery. Insomnia is a problem even for the most resilient people – not only because it’s more difficult to concentrate when you don’t get a full night’s rest, but also because a consistent lack of sleep can cause health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
If you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep for the full recommended seven to nine hours, what are some drug-free ways you can improve your sleep hygiene? The good news is that you can retrain yourself to be a better sleeper. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Consistency Is Key
One of the top lessons you will learn in recovery is how valuable it is to establish routines and stick with them. If you’re trying to beat insomnia, set a sleep schedule for yourself. Go to bed and get up at the same times every day, even on weekends, holidays and when you’re on vacation. Your internal body clock craves habit, so if you “teach” it to expect you’ll be asleep during a designated time, it will be easier for you to fall asleep.
2. Establish a Calming Bedtime Ritual
What helps you wind down and get in the mood for a good night’s sleep? Whether it’s relaxing yoga poses, a soothing cup of chamomile tea, a hot bubble bath or aromatherapy, there are countless ways to create a boundary between your waking life and your sleeping one and set the tone for a night of sound, uninterrupted rest. Make sure to choose activities that help you de-stress and quiet your mind. Don’t do anything overstimulating or anxiety-provoking.
3. Work up a Sweat
Daily exercise is beneficial for a host of reasons, especially your sleep hygiene. Anything you enjoy that gets your heart rate elevated and keeps it there for at least 30 minutes counts as exercise, whether that’s dancing, running, biking or weightlifting. You can exercise in the morning or afternoon, as long as you don’t compromise your sleep schedule by working out right before bed.
4. Take Tech out of the Picture
For many people, using a device such as a smartphone or laptop immediately before bedtime can disrupt their sleeping patterns. That’s because the “blue light” these screens emit can affect your circadian rhythms and leave you tossing and turning at night. Starting about an hour before your scheduled bedtime, turn off all your electronic devices. If you like to read to help you fall asleep, do so with a hard-copy book or magazine instead of reading on a tablet, or switch your device to “night mode.”
5. Design the Perfect Sleep Environment
If you struggle with insomnia, consider the age of your mattress and pillows. If they have outlived their lifespan, they might not be offering the support you need to enjoy restful sleep. Also, check your room for any distractions that might keep you up. For example, if you have a clock that ticks too loudly or a partner who snores, you might want to invest in earplugs or a white noise machine to drown out sounds. If your insomnia is anxiety-related, a weighted blanket can help soothe you into sleep by making you feel safer and more secure.
Sleep Your Way to Better Health
Sleep is an integral part of your addiction recovery journey. Use these five tips as the foundation for helping you find a restful routine that works for you.
If you are looking for a place to start your recovery, Vista Taos Renewal Center is here for you. Find your healing sanctuary at our family-owned, nationally accredited holistic addiction facility in picturesque Taos, New Mexico. Connect with us today to get started.