For a patient recovering from addiction, getting a good night's sleep can be a very difficult ordeal. The body suffers from the withdrawal, as well as many other changes that make falling sleep difficult. For many ex-addicts, the difficulty of getting a proper sleep is very stressful and can force them back into addiction. Therefore, getting a good sleep is vital in the recovery process for the physical health, and also very important for good mental, psychological and emotional health. If a recovering addict cannot sleep just one night, he or she might not be able to effectively make decisions the next morning. Therefore, if patient in recovery is continuously missing sleep or is not getting proper sleep, then it can be a very big hurdle to remain sober because attempting recovery needs very diligent effort and careful decision making.
Sleep is also very benefits in reducing overall stress. Those who do not sleep at least 6 hours per night are prone to increased levels of stress, irritability and mental exhaustion. Most relapses happen in recovering patients because of the stress. So, if an addict isn't sleeping well, then he or she has an increased chance of relapsing due to higher levels of stress resulting from sleep deprivation.
Dealing with sleep deprivation
There are ways that a recovering addict can overcome sleeplessness. First and foremost, the addict should make sure that he or she is creating a good sleeping environment which is free from distractions that can hamper sleep, like noise and lights from electronic devices (e.g. cell phones). Insomnia can become worse if the patient continues to be in bed trying to sleep, but no success. In such a situation, the patient can try to get up and do something small, like eating snacks or writing a to-do list.
Another factor that can effect sleeping cycle is the consumption of caffeine right around bedtime. Exercising before sleep can also be detrimental to sleep. Getting on to social media in bed can also be a major distraction that can hamper the ability to sleep. Avoiding all this can have a positive effect on the capability to fall asleep.
Relapse is not an option
Patients should remember that relapsing to the old addiction or creating a new addiction is not an answer to getting a good sleep. For example, patients going back to consuming alcohol to sleep might not get the proper rest the body needs; and long term alcohol use significantly deteriorates the sleeping habits and the perception of sleeping patterns. Therefore, patients should realize that, even if sleeping is difficult, it's very important to get a good night's sleep; going back to addiction is not a solution, but rather the patient should try to focus on sleeping at night to aid the recovering process. If needed, the patient should avail professional counseling or medical treatment to aid to be able to sleep and restart a healthy sleeping pattern, rather than going back to any form of addiction.
“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together”
– Thomas Decker