Even people who typically fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow have experienced their fair share of sleep trouble.
While many people only have the occasional struggle to get a good night’s rest, some people are not so lucky. For those people in the early stages of addiction recovery, trying to sleep can be a waking nightmare.
Addiction-Related Sleep Problems
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep, and addiction recovery doesn’t help. There are many addiction-related sleep problems, and as a drug and alcohol treatment center in Philly, we have heard our patients complain about all of them.
Drugs and alcohol can cause serious damage to the human body and can disturb regular functions like substance-induced sleep disorders. One study found that of those who had a substance abuse disorder, 95% noted sleep impairment, 56% had moderate to severe insomnia, and 53% showed symptoms of sleep apnea.1 This is before treatment even begins.
Because many patients’ bodies are going through withdrawal, people in the early stages of recovery tend to have more sleep problems than the general population as well. In fact, some researchers believe that the occurrence of insomnia in early recovery is almost five times more frequent than compared to the general population.2
Sleep helps with both the mental and physical functioning of a person, but with recovering addicts, good sleep is even more important. Lack of quality sleep is a big indicator of relapse.3 So, do can you combat this depressing connection between poor sleep and addiction recovery?
How to Get Better Sleep in Addiction Recovery
Unfortunately, a sprinkle of sand from the Sandman isn’t a realistic remedy for sleep problems in recovery. For those who are just starting their drugs or alcohol addiction treatment, they can probably expect to struggle with their sleep, but there is something they can do to help. At Banyan Philadelphia, we are providing some tips on getting sleep in recovery.
Keep a routine. Especially if you are already struggling to fall asleep, taking the time to wind down before bed can help you fall asleep faster. Go to bed at about the same time every night and try to wake up around the same time every morning as well. An hour or two before bed, drink tea, listen to calming music, take a warm bath, meditate, practice breathing exercises, or just relax. If you follow this routine on a daily basis, your body will learn and better adjust.
Use your bed for sleeping only. You want your body and mind to associate your bed with falling asleep. Watching TV in bed, eating in bed, and reading in bed can all make it harder to fall asleep as your body is getting mixed signals.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Loud noises, bright lights, and uncomfortable temperatures can make it hard to sleep for anyone, let alone someone in recovery who is already struggling. Get earplugs or an eye mask if you need it and set your house to a comfortable temperature.
Avoid caffeine and naps during the day. Both can mess up your sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep at night.
Start recording your symptoms. If you find that you suffer from sleep disorders on a consistent basis, it is important to track your symptoms. Include everything from how long you slept, if you dreamt, and how long it took you to fall asleep. Your doctor will be better able to assist you if there is a bigger problem at hand than just poor sleep and addiction recovery.
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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.