Sleep disorders are a common withdrawal symptom for people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. This can be unsettling and lead to increased anxiety. While withdrawal sleep disorders are common, there are ways you can deal with them and try to get better sleep.
How addiction and recovery affect sleep
Sleep disorders can occur with any type of addiction. Sleep disorders are also a common withdrawal symptom for people recovering from excessive alcohol use, cannabis, opioids, sedatives, anxiety drugs, and stimulants..Since every person and every addiction is different, the type and degree of sleep problems vary.
People who recover from addictions may not return to normal sleep patterns for six months or more. However, the first few days of withdrawal can be particularly problematic. Sleep deprivation only makes the experience of withdrawal more uncomfortable...
This is because your body is out of its normal rhythm. The time you’ve spent on drugs or over-drinking has changed the way your body works, and this often includes sleep patterns. During recovery, your body is changing again and trying to get used to being free of the substance. It is only natural that your sleep will be disturbed again.
How To Relieve Insomnia Withdrawal
The good news is that for most people, insomnia is temporary. It is one of the side effects of cleansing your body and returning to a substance-free life.
The more disciplined you follow the guidelines for good sleep hygiene, the faster your withdrawal sleep disorder will go away. Very often the simplest things that you can do are the best.
- Establish sleep rituals. Recovery is mostly about replacing bad habits with healthy ones. When it comes to sleeping, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time. Relax with quiet activities like reading before bed. Anything that calms you down and relaxes you before you try to sleep will help...
- Restore your circadian rhythms. Addiction can be difficult in your natural sleep cycle, and your body may have become used to staying awake for most of the night. One way to counteract this is to expose your eyes – without sunglasses – to daylight outdoors early in the day..Don’t look directly at the sun.
- Try natural approaches first. Before bed, have a warm cup of soothing, decaf tea, try meditating, and stay active during the day..These are just a few natural approaches you can take to improve your sleep. Stick with it and combine the methods if necessary. It is likely that you will soon be sleeping better.
Precautions against sleeping pills
Addiction can lead to other addictive behaviors. It is very important that you try to avoid things that have the potential to become a substitute for the drug of your choice. This is especially true in the early stages, when you are going through a withdrawal and are most tempted to find quick relief.
Try to avoid self-medication with other medications while going through withdrawal. These include over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills, marijuana, and alcohol.
Talk to your doctor about whether short-term use of prescribed medications can help you sleep for the first few days. Some medications can be helpful to relieve other symptoms of withdrawal. These are very specific to the medication you are withdrawing from as well as the medication you are being prescribed...
Discuss possible side effects with your doctor before taking these medications and follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Under no circumstances should you take more than prescribed or longer than prescribed. You can get sick or simply develop substitute addiction.
Why good sleep is the key to recovery
As difficult as it may be, establishing good sleep habits early in your recovery can increase your chances of avoiding relapse..You will hear this advice from former addicts, alcoholics, and most likely from your doctors and counselors as well.
A study in cocaine-addicted rats showed that sleep disorders increased the likelihood of relapse. Those animals that slept longer and with fewer breaks showed less cravings for cocaine. While results from animal studies are often inconsistent with results in humans, researchers speculate that the same association supports sleep-based therapies for people with cocaine addiction...
This is a reasonable hypothesis as sleep is one of the keys to a healthy body. After all, that is one of the goals in overcoming addiction. While it may seem impossible at the moment, anything you can do to improve your sleep can help your long-term recovery.