Getting a good night’s sleep is not a common practice for many people living in the U.S. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems.
#1. Substance Abuse Causes Sleeping Problems
Dopamine is a chemical your brain naturally produces. It is what helps you feel good and experience pleasure. Dopamine is also part of your body’s sleep/wake cycle and is responsible for helping you feel alert.
Abusing substances that increase your body’s dopamine levels will lead to sleep deprivation. Such substances include alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, and opioids. When you abuse drugs or alcohol, your body will overproduce dopamine, which brings about the feeling of being high.
#2. Insufficient Sleep (or Insomnia) Can Lead to Substance Abuse
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which the person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting a good quality of sleep. Many factors can cause insomnia, but the most common include stress, drinking caffeinated drinks, travel across multiple time zones, and medical conditions.
People who have insomnia may begin to self-medicate to fall asleep. If self-medication includes drugs and alcohol, the use and overuse of these substances can lead to substance use disorder (SUD).
How Does Sleep Affect Recovery?
If you are detoxing from drugs or alcohol or are in the beginning phases of recovery, you most likely have experienced some form of sleep disruption. Your body is trying to reset, and it may take some time before you can get on the proper sleep-wake rhythm without help from a medical professional.
If you are not getting the proper amount of sleep in recovery, you could experience a relapse. Lack of sleep increases cravings for drugs and alcohol, and being unable to resist cravings is one of the leading causes of relapse.
Having good quality sleep is extremely important in recovery. Sleep helps your body in several ways, including proper brain function, and will keep you focused on maintaining your sobriety.
Tips for Managing Sleep in Recovery
Several things that may help you manage your sleep in recovery include:
- Reduce or avoid caffeine: If you consume caffeinated beverages, consider reducing your intake and avoid drinking these beverages late in the day or at night. If caffeine is a known sleep disruptor for you, consider eliminating it from your diet altogether.
- Set a schedule: Help your body reset its sleep pattern by getting on a consistent sleep schedule. Setting an alert on your phone may help you remember when it’s time to start winding down.
- Become active: Exercising and being physically active helps promote sleep.
- Limit naps: Taking a nap during the afternoon or evening can make it more challenging to sleep through the night. Try to keep your naps short and avoid napping after 3 pm.
- Be comfortable: Make sure your bed and bedroom provide a comfortable environment. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet. It also helps to eliminate or reduce distractions before you go to sleep, such as watching television or constantly checking your phone.
- Eat light: If you are hungry before falling asleep, do not eat heavy or overeat. Try eating a light snack instead. Consuming too much food before bedtime can activate your digestive system, which may make falling and staying asleep more difficult.
- Relax: Make relaxing and destressing before getting into bed part of your sleep schedule.
- Control the temperature: Lower the temperature in your bedroom an hour or more before you plan to go to bed so that the room is cool when you go to sleep. Sleeping in a cool room improves your quality of sleep.
On average, adequate sleep is seven or more hours a night. Getting the right amount of quality sleep helps to reduce stress, allows you to think more clearly, increases productivity, and leaves you feeling better overall.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Sleep
Here at Hawaii Island Recovery, we offer evidence-based clinical treatments to help you get the sleep you need. One of these treatment modules is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT is a form of psychological treatment that addresses dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and beliefs that can drive addiction and other disorders. With CBT, Hawaii Island Recovery can help you address those negative thoughts that may keep you from sleeping and help you develop new sleeping patterns.
Getting an adequate amount of quality sleep is an essential health factor for everybody. Sleep is one of the most critical components of managing sobriety for those suffering from addiction or in recovery. Substance abuse and a lack of sleep are linked in multiple ways. While substance abuse can lead to problems sleeping, at the same time, a lack of sleep can lead to a substance use disorder. If you are in active addiction or recovery, it’s more than likely your sleep has been disrupted. Having a consistent, good quality of sleep while in recovery will help you focus, decrease your cravings, and make you less likely to relapse. If you would like more information on how sleep can affect your recovery or if you want to know more about our therapies to help you sleep better, call Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070. We are always available to help you or your loved ones.