Of all the factors that go into a successful addiction treatment, sleep is probably not something that most people consider. The truth is, however, that sleep is an important part of self-care and an inadequate quality or quantity can impair your recovery. According to a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, people in recovery are 5 times more likely to suffer from insomnia than the general population. Sleep issues and substance abuse tend to go hand in hand. Alcohol and opioid use can cause disrupted sleep and difficulty staying asleep. Sleeping pills, while safe enough for most people, are not recommended for those with substance abuse problems because they can become addictive.
A good night’s sleep will leave you clear-headed and better able to make healthy decisions. Sleep deprivation affects the brain’s ability to focus, retain information, solve problems, and make decisions. Adequate sleep can also prevent irritability, which is especially important if you already suffer from anxiety and mood swings. It will give you the energy you need to get through the day without relying on any chemicals, and the energy to be active and stay physically healthy.
Here are some steps that you can take to help you improve your sleep:
- No caffeine or smoking for several hours before bed. These are stimulants and will keep you awake.
- Exercise daily. Even ten minutes of aerobic exercise a day can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep.
- Try not to take long naps during the day.
- Stay away from spicy foods, fried foods, soda and other carbonated drinks, and citrus, all of which may lead to indigestion and heartburn at nighttime. Foods that are high in fiber should also be avoided close to bedtime because your body will still be working on digesting while you’re trying to sleep.
- Try some foods that will help you sleep. Warm milk, nuts, caffeine free tea, and lean proteins like cottage cheese can all help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
- Avoid alcohol, which might put you to sleep initially but can cause nightmares and prevent you from falling deeply asleep.
- Try to get some sunlight each day, or at least take a vitamin D supplement. Studies have found that low vitamin D levels correlate with poor sleep.
- Create a routine. Go to bed at the same time each night, and do the same activities beforehand, such as taking a bath or laying out the next day’s clothes.
- Seek treatment for underlying mental disorders. Anxiety, depression, and stress can all keep you awake at night, unable to shut off your brain when you should be sleeping.
- Avoid using electronic devices in bed and consider removing the television from your bedroom if you have one.
If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.