Getting sober is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself, physically and mentally. However, it’s no secret that recovery is a challenge. It comes with its own set of obstacles and difficulties. One of the most common complaints from those undertaking the process of addiction treatment is insomnia. It’s vital for those in early recovery to understand the importance of a good night’s rest, and to take the proper steps to repair their sleep cycles.
Bad Sleep in Addiction Recovery
According to the Journal of Addiction Medicine, insomnia is five times more common for those in early recovery than in the general population. Why is this the case? Ongoing drug or alcohol misuse alters your brain chemistry. It also affects your body’s natural circadian rhythm: the internal clock that tells you when it’s time to sleep or wake.
As patterns are disrupted and unconsciousness is compromised, many people rely on substances to fall (and stay) asleep. When those substances are discontinued, it becomes difficult to readjust to a sober night’s rest. This can have a massive effect on one’s physical and emotional well-being.
Why Sleep is Important to Your Health
There’s no shortage of documentation surrounding the importance of a good night’s sleep. This is the time when your body repairs itself and details from your day are moved into long-term memory. For younger people, it is integral for growth and development. Sleep regulates the hormones controlling everything from your appetite to your blood sugar. For this reason (among many others), a deficiency can be devastating.
There are dangers of sleeplessness that are especially dangerous for people in early recovery. People with a sleep deficiency have difficulty making decisions, solving problems, and regulating emotions. They tend to engage in more risk-taking behavior and suffer from mood swings and impulsive actions. These are all behaviors that, left unchecked, can eventually result in a relapse. This is why it’s incredibly important for those in recovery to avoid
6 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
While poor sleep is typical for those going addiction recovery, it is usually not permanent. There are several steps you can take to ensure your body adjusts to a regular circadian rhythm.
- Create a routine. Come up with a relaxing bedtime ritual that you can perform every day. Make yourself some sleepytime tea, do a face mask, take a hot bath, get in bed with a book – whatever cues will help you relax and get ready to sleep.
- Try to go to bed (and wake yourself up) at the same time each day.
- Avoid large, heavy meals, nicotine, and caffeine before bedtime. These can keep you awake and cause you to get up throughout the night.
- Do some physical activity each day to tire yourself out. Spending time outside can be extremely beneficial in resetting your internal clock, and taking a hike can expend any pent-up energy that would leave you tossing and turning all night.
- Practice mindfulness. Holistic approaches to recovery recommend meditative practices to overcome the swarm of thoughts that can come along with early sobriety. Bring your attention to your breath and close your eyes to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
- Make your room a sanctuary for rest. Keep other activities (like TV or computer time) in different areas of the house, and keep your bedroom dimly lit, quiet, and cool. This builds an association between your room and sleeping – nothing else.
Get Good Sleep in Recovery
If you or a loved one are struggling with insomnia in early recovery, you’re not alone. Remember that this is temporary and completely treatable, and completely worth the peace and health that come along with sobriety. Vista Taos provides support for all stages of the recovery process, from intervention to long-term aftercare. If you have questions about how to beat sleep deficiency, feel free to reach out to one of our helpful representatives today. You can contact us by filling out our contact form or by calling (575) 586-3102.