Getting an adequate amount of sleep is essential for individuals of all ages, but it’s extremely important during the recovery stage of addiction treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults between the ages of 18 and 60 should get at least seven hours of sleep each night for optimal health.
Dopamine levels, which help regulate sleep, is key. Most individuals rely on music, exercise and other hobbies to produce dopamine. Those struggling with addiction turn to substance abuse to take the place of the dopamine response. For a successful recovery, it’s important to fully understand and address any sleep issues you may have.
Why Sleep is So Important During Addiction Recovery
Substance withdrawal can have a major impact on how long and how well you sleep. Abusing alcohol and drugs causes chemical changes in your brain. Including the way neurotransmitters work and respond to stimuli. As a result, you may find you can’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time or you struggle with insomnia and other sleep disorders. Many people will turn to the substance to achieve a deep sleep, so once you’re in addiction recovery, you may find it more difficult to achieve high quality sleep.
Sleep helps your body heal from both the emotional and physical effects of addiction. Because sleep affects your neurotransmitters and other chemical reactions within the brain, achieving a sleep balance is essential for complete recovery.
Dangers of Inadequate Sleep
Lack of sleep can cause some serious issues to arise. Sleep disturbances during recovery place you at a higher risk for relapse than those who get proper amounts of rest. According to the Sleep Foundation, not getting enough sleep can also cause high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, weight gain, a greater risk of getting sick and a greater risk of accidents. A lack of sleep can also affect your memory and your ability to concentrate. Even an hour less sleep a night can add up and cause a decline in your performance.
Tips for Better Sleep
Fortunately, if you’re having trouble sleeping, there are a variety of steps you can take to help alleviate this problem.
- Maintain a sleep schedule – Make sleep a priority each night. Know when you need to be in bed in order to get the amount of sleep you need, and commit to that. If you must make changes in your sleep schedule, do it gradually to avoid any disturbances.
- Develop a nightly routine – A nightly routine helps prepare your body for sleep. Brush your teeth, take a shower, put away electronic devices and avoid any overstimulating activities at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Get enough exercise during the day – Exercise is an excellent way to ensure you get enough sleep at night. Just 30 minutes can greatly improve your sleep.
- Create a cozy sleep environment – Make your bedroom a comfortable place to rest. Use black out curtains to eliminate outside light, and use a sleep machine or sleep app to drown out any unwanted noise. Keep your room cool and opt for comfortable bedding.
At Baystate Recovery Center, we can help you develop healthy habits during the addiction recovery process. For more information on the services we provide and for help with alcohol and substance abuse, contact us today.