Everybody seems to be going on less sleep these days, especially people in recovery. Insomnia is not a friend to many who enter recovery. Sleep deprivation can have serious ramifications on how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Low mood, impulsivity, and increased likelihood of relapse are all possible issues that may come as a result of less (or altered) sleep. Try some tips to up your sleep quotient early in recovery to help you get a good night’s rest.
The body does not forget it needs sleep. The issue becomes when sleep cycles are altered through substance use or other means that a person experiences restlessness, insomnia, and wakefulness episodes. One important element of good sleep is light. In countries where they experience 24 hours of daylight for some parts of the year, they have to use blackout curtains on windows to trick the body into thinking it is time to sleep at certain times of the evening. Timing light exposure for people in recovery can help them go to sleep and wake up at certain intervals – essentially retraining the body and re-educating it to sleep better. Light Therapy is used to treat circadian rhythm disorders and insomnia, two things which increase in recovery.
The more you lie around, the less likely you are to sleep. This is difficult for people who have depression or are chronically tired and just want to lie down but can never seem to get a full nights’ rest. Both physical and mental exercise plays an important role in regulating circadian rhythms and increasing relaxation. Aerobic exercise 3-4 hours before bed can help increase sleep. You might even try:
- Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise or movement per day
- Meditation or mindfulness activity
- Mental exercises to get the brain moving which can help lull you to sleep
- Reading books before bed which makes you feel more tired
A challenge of the modern world is technology entering all parts of the house at all hours of the night. The bedroom should be designed to promote your ultimate relaxation and comfort. It should also reduce factors that inhibit your sleep. Pillows, sheets, and comfortable sleeping materials are necessary to help get to sleep. If it is too hot or too cold, it is hard to sleep, or if you snore, and if there are underlying health issues that do not help. Technology is only one part of this equation, but it can help to turn them off and put them outside the bedroom at night to keep the blue light from interfering with the body’s natural circadian rhythms.
Get a Rhythm
Getting a rhythm of life that is sustainable for good sleep takes time. It is not easy to do but it is possible. It is difficult with medications possibly interfering with sleep, along with other things. However, addiction recovery is about upping your game, trying new things, and seeing what works. Don’t hesitate to ask friends, seek support from mentors, and talk to therapists about sleep issues. In the end, it may be only temporary and you can rest easy knowing sleep is on the way.
Oceanfront helps you confront the issues facing your journey of recovery. If you are struggling with sleep issues in recovery or need extra support for addiction issues, we are here to help. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295