Understanding Insomnia In Early Recovery

man with insomnia

People who live with substance use disorder often have other behavior and health problems that need to be treated. Insomnia is a frequent complaint when people stop using alcohol or drugs. Some people only experience it while they are in withdrawal. For other people, sleep issues like insomnia can be persistent. Why is this?

Sleep Disturbances In Recovery

You may also experience other sleep issues, such as nightmares or trouble falling asleep if you have insomnia. While it may be disturbing, it’s a natural occurrence and often thought to result from long-term detoxing as your body rewires your brain. Some people have trouble falling asleep, while others may wake up feeling wide awake in the middle of the night.

People with alcohol use disorder may have more trouble falling asleep than others. Almost 25% of people who have an alcohol problem have sleep issues. People with opioid use disorder also have trouble sleeping during their first year sober as their body adjusts to life without substances. Dreams like drug dreams or dreams about past trauma can also disturb sleep.

Sleep Is Important

A lack of sleep can cause significant issues for people in recovery and should not go unaddressed. When you don’t sleep, your body and mind have trouble recovering and preparing for the next day. Lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to accidents or infections. For many people, insomnia causes additional stress that makes people more vulnerable to relapse.

Sleep is important to emotional and physical healing. Try to give yourself at least 8 hours to sleep every night.

Addressing Insomnia And Sleep Problems

Most people begin to sleep better after their first few months sober, but others may suffer from a sleep disorder. Sleeping disorders can be treated through cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and relaxation exercises.

Behavioral changes may help a person establish a new sleep routine. Limiting activities in bed such as reading or “doomscrolling” can help signal to your body that it is time to rest. Establishing a simple nightly routine such as brushing your teeth, writing your gratitude list, and going to bed can also help prepare your mind and body to relax. Over-the-counter remedies for sleep can be a trigger for drug use. Don’t try to solve a sleep disorder on your own.

If you’re desperate for sleep, seek professional help. A medical doctor or psychiatrist can help you determine the best course of treatment for sleep issues.

Consider Sober Living

If you are newly sober and looking for a safe, recovery-focused home full of community, sober living may be right for you. Learn more about how it works by calling 760-216-2077.

 

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