Developing healthy sleep patterns is incredibly important to our mental and physical health in sobriety. We rarely exercised healthy sleep practices in active addiction. In sobriety, however, we can begin to improve our sleep hygiene and become more motivated, energetic, and rested throughout the day. Sleep hygiene refers to a collection of habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis. By incorporating sleep hygiene practices into our lives, can become more productive and motivated to properly engage in our recovery each day. Many men and women in early sobriety struggle with insomnia or sleep disruption, occasionally taking medication to promote sleep. However, utilizing sleep hygiene practices can be more effective than medication. According to the Centre for Clinical Interventions, “There are many medications which are used to treat insomnia, but these tend to be only effective in the short-term. Ongoing use of sleeping pills may lead to dependence and interfere with developing good sleep habits independent of medication, thereby prolonging sleep difficulties. Talk to your health professional about what is right for you, but we recommend good sleep hygiene as an important part of treating insomnia, either with other strategies such as medication or cognitive therapy or alone.” Sleep hygiene practices include developing health routines around sleep. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “Ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so before bed. Take a bath (the rise, then fall in body temperature promotes drowsiness), read a book, watch television, or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities—doing work, discussing emotional issues. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with increasing alertness. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down—and then putting them aside.” We can also begin waking up and going to sleep around the same time each day. This way, we can reset our “internal clock,” allowing us to fall asleep easier and stay asleep throughout the night. The Sleep Foundation also suggests limiting daytime naps, avoiding nicotine and caffeine at night, exercising during the day, and ensuring adequate exposure to natural light. If we can incorporate these practices into our sleep habits and routines, we will find that we feel better during the day and are better equipped to handle any stressors we may encounter in our recovery.
Your story can become one of happiness and health in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to providing clients with all the tools needed to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777