In early recovery, your body is adjusting without drugs and alcohol. Of all the changes your body experiences in recovery, insomnia is one of the most common. Whether its due to cravings, withdrawals or anxiety, insomnia causes lack of sleep. Being tired is a key trigger for relapse, so it is important to get a good night’s rest. The following article lists seven effective ways to beat insomnia in your sobriety.
Prepare for Sleep Throughout Your Day
A good night’s sleep isn’t something you prepare for before bedtime. There are several things that you can do throughout the day to ensure a great night’s rest. First, avoid drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages by mid-afternoon. Secondly, avoid daytime naps—this will throw off your internal clock. Additionally, be sure you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. It is also helpful to eat a well-balanced meal containing magnesium, B-vitamins, and complex carbohydrates.
Create a Sleep Schedule
Another effective way to beat insomnia in recovery is to create a sleep schedule. Decide on a time to go to sleep every night as well as a time to wake up each morning. When creating your schedule, pick a time that works best FOR YOU. There are no “right” or “wrong” times when creating a sleep schedule. If you find yourself awake for 20 minutes or so after your scheduled time, you will have to adjust accordingly. If you find yourself awake, read a book or find something relaxing to do until you fall asleep.
Create A Sleep-Friendly Space
To beat insomnia in sobriety, you also need to consider your sleep space. You need to create a conducive environment to get a restful sleep. Look at your bedroom and makes the necessary changes to create tranquility. First and foremost, remove cell phone, iPads, and other devices. You also may want to try mood lighting such as adding lamps which emit a soft and soothing glow. You may also consider adding blackout curtains, eye blinds or even a white noise machine.
Incorporate Relaxation Techniques
Conquering sleeplessness in recovery is also possible using relaxation techniques. Yoga and meditation are popular mindful meditation practices that you can use to beat insomnia. Basic yoga and meditation techniques are easy to master and can be done in as little as 15 minutes. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation.
With this technique, focus on a body part of your hand or shoulders. For a few seconds, squeeze the muscles in that area as hard as you can without injury. Once you create the tension, exhale and let all the tightness flow through the area of focus. Spend about fifteen seconds performing this sequence on each body part.
Create a Sleep Routine
Much like an exercise routine, you need to create a sleep routine to combat insomnia in your recovery. You can incorporate different activities into your routine. For example, you can take a relaxing hot bath or drink chamomile tea. You can also listen to relaxing music or do yoga or other meditation practice. Whatever you decide, keep your routine consistent each evening. Your body will recognize this routine with sleep, and your body will relax on its own.
Fine Tune Your Body Rhythm
Your body has an internal clock that helps it function at an optimal level. This clock is synched to your eating, light, and sleeping. This rhythm is referred to as your circadian rhythm. To help you sleep, your body releases the hormone melatonin. When you are addicted to substances, your internal clock is thrown out of sync and it causes insomnia.
To help combat insomnia in recovery, you must find ways to regain control of your body rhythm. This can be done in many ways. Be sure to expose yourself to light sources early in the day and not before you sleep. Avoid eating substantially in the evening hours. As alluded to earlier, it is important to stick to your established sleep schedule.
Oftentimes insomnia in recovery is the result of worry. In early recovery, you can worry about craving drugs and alcohol. You can also worry about how you can make it another day sober. Playing these thoughts over and over in your head can create insomnia. Instead of focusing on the past and future, focus on being grateful for what you have right now.
Before you go to bed, be grateful that you made it through the day clean and sober. Give yourself credit for the progress you made today—no matter how small the step. Falling to sleep on a positive note will help you get the rest you need.
Find What Works for You
Creating a solid plan for eliminating insomnia in recovery takes time. Like your overall recovery plan, finding techniques to help you sleep often takes a period of trial and error. If something doesn’t work, find those that are more effective for you. As stated earlier, there is no right or wrong way—only YOUR way.
If you need further suggestions on how to beat insomnia in your recovery, turn to your recovery community. Seek the advice of those in your 12-Step group, your sponsor or your counselor. Having a solid support system to help you can provide a sense of comfort that creates empowerment.
Are You Ready to Face Your Addiction?
Struggling with addiction is taxing on the body, mind, and spirit. If you are ready to embrace sobriety, Stout Street Foundation can help. For over 40 years, we have provided treatment and support that has helped thousands break the cycle of substance abuse. In addition to proven individual treatment programs, we provide a living environment that can inspire and empower you to achieve lasting sobriety.
Call us toll-free today and take the first step to a new you.