Addiction and poor sleep are bedfellows for several reasons. Prior to recovery, you may have relied on alcohol or drugs to lull you to sleep. Substance use disorders have also been study-proven to interrupt your sleep-wake cycles, making it harder to drift off and stay asleep throughout the night. People in recovery have been known to deal with a range of sleep issues, including poor sleep quality, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and insomnia. In fact, the incidence of insomnia is up to five times higher in people in early recovery than in the general population. Insomnia can manifest itself in difficulty falling asleep, restless sleep and waking up too early. If left untreated, insomnia can wreak havoc on your recovery, leaving you feeling fuzzy, fatigued and emotionally unstable. It can also up your risk of developing a handful of health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
Why Sleep Matters
Sleep plays a major role in your overall health and your lasting sobriety – and, yet, one in three Americans don’t get enough shut-eye. You need sound slumber to help heal your body from the damage caused by addiction and to protect your body from illness. Sleep boosts your immune system, reduces stress, helps you make better choices and gives you the energy to keep up with the hard work of recovery. Are you catching enough Zzs? The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends the following:
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
Making Shut-Eye a Priority in Recovery
We’ve talked about the importance of having healthy habits and healthy routines in recovery – and this includes sleep. If it helps, keep a diary of your slumber habits and what works for you to fall and stay asleep. The NSF suggests the following tips:
- Set a schedule. Try to wake up every morning and go to sleep every night around the same time, even on weekends. This will help regulate your circadian rhythm, or the 24-hour internal clock that controls your sleep-wake cycles.
- Establish a comfortable environment. Ideally, your bedroom should only be used for sleeping and intimacy – no smartphones, tablets or televisions allowed. For optimal Zzs, the NSF suggests keeping your bedroom cool (between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit) and dark by covering windows to block out any outside light.
- Create a relaxing ritual. Winding down your body and mind each night can go a long way toward solid slumber. Experiment with a few relaxation strategies (yoga, meditation, deep breathing, prayer), listen to mellow music or end your night with a warm soak in the tub.
- Monitor nighttime eating (and drinking). Hitting the hay with an empty belly could leave you tossing and turning into the wee hours of morning. And even when you finally fall asleep, hunger pains keep the brain mentally alert, so you won’t get restorative shut-eye. Similarly, eating too much too late at night – especially if it’s a meal high in sugar – can cause a sugar crash that can wake you up in the middle of the night.
- Prioritize daily exercise. A regular exercise routine can help you fall asleep faster and remain asleep through the night. Avoid exercising too vigorously too close to bedtime, however, as this can rev you up and cause poor quality sleep.
Healthy Habits at Makana Path
Learning healthy sleep habits is an important part of a healthy recovery. At Makana Path, we can help give you the tools to reduce anxiety naturally and prepare your body and mind for quality slumber. To learn more about our intensive healing program, call us today: 866-922-0776