Having a normal sleeping pattern is key to living a happy and healthy life. Sleep is always important, but it is especially vital when you are trying to fight a disorder like addiction.
Addiction recovery begins with withdrawal, which is the body’s way of readjusting to suddenly not having a substance in the system. Almost everyone who goes through withdrawal will experience unpleasant symptoms that could be eased with a good night’s sleep. However, trouble with sleeping is ironically one of the main symptoms of withdrawal; so while you may need sleep, your body and mind may be fighting it.
Sleeping patterns may be greatly affected during recovery. In fact, individuals who are recovering from addiction may not return to a normal sleeping schedule for up to six months after beginning treatment.
The first few days of sobriety are typically the roughest, especially when it comes to insomnia. Drugs such as opiates and opioids, whether prescription or illicit, are known for causing loss of sleep during this essential period of recovery.
Opiate Withdrawal: What Is It?
Opiate withdrawal occurs when someone has stopped taking or decreases their usage of opiates after prolonged use or physical dependence. Withdrawal, since it alters brain chemistry and changes its processes along the way, is likely to cause symptoms that affect a person’s physical and mental state. One of these primary symptoms is insomnia.
Insomnia During Opiate Withdrawal
Insomnia makes it difficult to fall and/or stay asleep because your body is out of its normal rhythm. Your mood and health may be affected by loss of sleep, which is why having insomnia makes it hard for individuals to maintain the motivation to recover.
Another frustrating factor is that insomnia can also increase other areas of withdrawal & vice versa. For example, some withdrawal symptoms contribute to insomnia further. These side effects include restless legs, nausea & vomiting, aches & pains, cold sweats, chills, racing thoughts, anxiety, and depression.
So if sleep is so important during withdrawal yet so difficult to achieve, how can someone going through recovery get back on a normal sleeping schedule?
How to Ease Withdrawal-Induced Insomnia
The best way to regulate your sleep patterns during opiate withdrawal is to seek medical attention. If you are considering stopping opioids or opiates, you should contact a rehab facility as soon as possible for assistance during detox and withdrawal. With medical guidance, you will have more access to the tools you need to get back on track and continue the journey toward recovery.
Fortunately, rehabilitation centers and hospitals have implemented many solutions to help increase sleep hygiene during opiate withdrawal. One of the first, of course, is medication. There are many over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can promote regular sleeping patterns, from Benadryl to Methadone. However, medications come with a risk of dependence for those going through recovery from opiates. To avoid the chance of developing another addiction, many individuals choose more natural ways to get on a sleeping schedule. These methods, of course, will take daily practice and may take slightly longer to show results.
Here are some of the practices that may ease opiate withdrawal-induced insomnia:
- Exercise lightly
- Listen to music
- Establish sleep rituals
- Get sunlight during the day
- Meditate at night
- Go to one-on-one therapy
These methods take commitment, so whoever is struggling with insomnia must be willing to continue these patterns in order to achieve long-term success.
Treating All Symptoms of Withdrawal
Insomnia is just one of the side effects that can make opioid withdrawal uncomfortable; but while it may be an unpleasant experience, it is much more manageable if handled by medical professionals. If treated responsibly, withdrawal can be eased quickly — this will allow you to move on with recovery and succeed with sobriety.
If you have any questions about sleep and insomnia, especially when it comes to withdrawal and seeking recovery, contact our team of substance abuse treatment professionals by calling 866-488-8684.