| Peter Cook

Practical tips for your recovery: The importance of sleep.

Introduction

You know a proper night’s rest is good for you.   If you didn’t sleep well, you are tired, grumpy, and less productive.   Restful sleep is essential for general health and your wellbeing.   

 

But why is sleep good for you?  And more specifically, why is it so essential for people in recovery?  

 

Sleep tight

Here is a list of the health benefits of a natural, whole night's rest.  

 

  • Sleep resets your brain.   While you sleep, your brain recharges so that you can concentrate, understand things and be productive again the next day.
  • You eat better when you sleep better.  Sleep influences your appetite hormones.   If you sleep well, you process food better.   
  • The regulation of blood pressure.  A night of good sleep will help lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Your emotional wellbeing. When you sleep well, you are more empathic toward others.   Your attitude to life and your ability to socialize is better.   You are less likely to suffer from depression.  
  • Sleep doctors.The body heals itself while you sleep.   Sleeping boosts your immune system, helps you recover from illness, and regenerates damaged areas within your body.

 

It is not hard to see how all these factors are critical for a life in recovery.   

Recovery and sleep

 

Commit to better sleep

 

People with addiction issues tend to struggle with getting enough sleep.   In fact, they are more likely to have multiple sleep disorders.  Sleep patterns are interrupted by chemical use, after all.

 

Once a person starts on the road to recovery, it is essential to commit to getting enough sleep.  

 

Being in recovery means a process of healing has started.   However, healing will not happen overnight.   Drugs and alcohol have altered your brain, and their effect can linger a long time.

 

Good, unassisted sleep is vital for those in recovery.   (‘Unassisted sleep’ means natural sleep without taking pills.)

 

Quality sleep equals better recovery.

 

Sleep does not go back to normal once the chemicals are gone.   Your sleep patterns may still go haywire for some time. However, there is hope!  Researchers have found that adequate sleep makes recovery addicts feel better and lessen their drug cravings.   

 

‘But what if I still can’t sleep?’

 

If you are new to recovery, the chances are that you will have difficulty sleeping.   Don’t lose hope!   As your body heals, it will get better.   In the meantime, here’s what you can do to promote healthy sleep patterns:  

 

  • Go to bed at a reasonable time every night, even on weekends.
  • Relax before bed.   Some feel a warm bath helps. Others like to read, write in a journal, or meditate.
  • Don’t eat a huge meal or drink coffee just before bedtime.   Caffeine takes a long time to leave your body.   If you must have a snack before bed, bananas are good– it promotes sleepiness and relaxation.
  • Switch off those screens about an hour before bed.  It would help if you decreased your light intake as you prepare to go to sleep.   Light affects melatonin in your body (which enables you to sleep.)  The less light, the better sleep!
  • Sleep on a comfortable bed with lots of support.
  • Exercise during the day.  It would help to make you more tired in the evenings.

 

Conclusion

 

Do you still need help?  

 

Getting a good night's rest should be a top priority for people in recovery.   However, if you (or your loved one) are still using drugs and alcohol, you should get help for the drug problem first.   No amount of sleep will help if you are still using.

 

Let us at Largest Heart help!   Contact us if you have severe sleep issues or if you need any other form of support on your road to recovery.   We want to be here for you.

 

 

Resources

 

 https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/recovery/wellness/surprising-impact-rest-addiction-recovery/

https://mountainside.com/blog/wellness/how-important-is-sleep-for-your-recovery/

https://www.narconon.org/blog/the-importance-of-sleep-in-addiction-recovery.html