When someone is addicted to a substance, whether it be alcohol or prescription drugs, they are likely to experience changes in their sleeping schedules and patterns. Individuals who have addictions tend to get less sleep than those who aren’t. Even if someone with an addiction isn’t actively using a substance, they may have trouble sleeping. In some cases, people who are newly sober still have issues with falling and staying asleep. Sleep and addiction are closely connected; while it can be hard for people with an addiction to sleep, it is very important.
For someone to completely feel like themselves again, they need to prioritize sleep during recovery. Resting during the recovery process can help individuals make up for the sleep they lost while they were struggling with their addiction.
Why It’s Essential to Get A Good Night’s Sleep
So why is it so important for humans to sleep in the first place? First, sleeping allows our bodies and minds to recharge. While we sleep, our systems are processing what happened during the previous day and are getting ready for the next one. Sleep is also essential in order for us to display proper cognitive and behavioral functions throughout the day.
Most adults require about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. It is completely normal if you don’t get that much sleep every night, but it might be a problem if you can never get 7 hours of sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep per night, you might experience insomnia or sleep deprivation. Individuals with sleep deprivation have a higher risk of developing physical and mental health conditions including diabetes and anxiety.
How Addiction Can Affect Sleeping Habits
It is very common for people with substance abuse issues to have insomnia and other sleeping related conditions. Substance abuse can cause sleep apnea, trouble falling or staying asleep, disturbances in sleep cyclones, and excessive fatigue during the day. These sleep issues could be triggered in a variety of ways, depending on the type of substance someone uses.
For example, alcohol keeps us from falling into a deep REM sleep and increases the amount of times we wake up at night. So if someone is dependent on alcohol, they are constantly waking up and are rarely able to get into a deep sleep.
Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines make it difficult for the body to relax. So even if someone’s mind wants to sleep, their body won’t if they have a stimulant in their system.
When someone goes through withdrawal from a drug like cocaine, marijuana, or opioids, they are also likely to experience issues with sleep. Individuals in withdrawal are encouraged to detox in a medical environment where they will have access to sleep-based treatment.
The Power Of Sleep During Recovery
Unfortunately, the sleep problems don’t stop as soon as someone gets sober. The effects of the substance someone uses can still affect them and their sleeping patterns during recovery. But if someone doesn’t get enough sleep during recovery, they could experience mental health complications. These mental health issues may eventually trigger relapse. Therefore, it’s essential for people in recovery to establish a healthy and regular sleep routine. Not only will following a routine help them feel more rested, but it will allow them to practice daily structure.
Developing Better Sleeping Habits After Addiction
Getting sleep can help individuals feel more rested and relaxed during recovery. However, it is important to seek out rest in healthy and productive ways. Individuals in recovery should not take any sleep medication without talking to their doctor first. Certain medications can help people get better sleep during recovery, but they should be approved by a substance abuse treatment professional. To continue getting rest during recovery, individuals should avoid caffeine and coffee, eliminate screen time before bed, create a relaxing space for sleeping, maintain comfortable lighting and temperature, and reduce outside noise and distractions.