One thing that is very important, yet often hard to come by for people in addiction recovery is a good night’s sleep. Addiction can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythms and lead to dependence on a specific substance to help you fall asleep.
Without the usual nightcap, people in recovery can struggle with insomnia for weeks or even months. Bad habits such as smoking, caffeine late in the day or focusing on stressful thoughts at night can contribute to a lack of sleep.
Unfortunately, insomnia can affect your mental and physical state causing more depression and anxiety, fuzzy thinking and a higher vulnerability to relapse. Resolving sleep problems is crucial to a healthy recovery. Here are some tips for getting the necessary solid eight hours of sleep every day.
1. Create a Sleep Ritual
Setting up a routine for yourself that gets you in the mindset to fall asleep can help your body adjust to a schedule. Try to create a ritual that you follow every day that will put you into a sleepy state.
This means first deciding on a time to go to bed and get up every day that is rarely altered. Then use the 30 minutes before your bedtime to do something that relaxes you such as taking a warm bath, practicing meditation, reading a book or listening to calm music.
2. Watch What You Eat and Drink
Avoiding large meals before bedtime and any caffeine drinks late in the evening can help prevent you from being too wired to fall asleep. You also shouldn’t be too hungry before bedtime as this can keep you up too. Focusing on a healthier diet can be more conducive to regular sleep as it will help balance your blood sugar level.
A diet that is too high in sugar or carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to spike and drop during the night which can affect your sleep even you have normal blood sugar levels overall. A diet that is low in unhealthy things like sugar and caffeine and high in nutrients can help promote regular sleep.
3. Get Regular Exercise
An exercise regimen every day can help improve your sleep schedule and make you fall asleep faster. At least 20 minutes of exercise a day with something as simple as a brisk walk has proven to reduce sleep problems even in people with chronic insomnia.
Exercises like yoga poses can be beneficial because they not only focus on fitness but also promote relaxation. Exercise in the afternoon or evening can cause a drop in body temperature that leads people to fall asleep easily.
4. Eliminate Light and Sound
It is important to create an environment in your bedroom that is conducive to sleep especially in the hour or so before you plan to go to bed. Avoid looking at electronics before sleep and make sure to turn off computers and cell phones so that they are not creating any white noise. A quiet room with little light is the best environment to sleep in. Consider getting blackout curtains, using ear plugs or an eye mask to help eliminate light and sound.
5. Cope with Stress through Meditation
One of the biggest reasons that people struggle with sleeping especially in early recovery is stress. If you are dealing with a lot of stress, try to learn relaxation techniques like meditation that can help minimize your stress levels.
Meditating every day especially in the evening before bed can reduce the chances of staying awake because of anxious thoughts. A clear mind and relaxed state is the best way to get a healthy eight hours of sleep on a regular basis.