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Sleep and Recovery

Its no secret that you will feel better after a good night’s sleep, but sleep can be elusive for many of us. For those dealing with addiction, the problem is likely even more complicated. Drugs and alcohol create a myriad of negative impacts on your body. Continued substance abuse or alcohol abuse can disturb your body’s sleep patterns immensely. While many people believe that because alcohol and drugs such as cocaine are depressants, consumption of these substances will help them sleep, this is highly inaccurate. In fact, the opposite is true. Our bodies rely on circadian rhythms to govern our sleep patterns. Circadian rhythms are cyclical patterns of brain waves that deliver signals to our nervous system when it is time to sleep and time to wake. These patterns reduce brain activity during specific times to allow our bodies to obtain restful sleep. Drugs and alcohol affect all of our bodies natural functions including the circadian rhythms. When our body can’t regulate the brain activity, we lose the ability to feel tired and know when we need to sleep. This is one way we encounter insomnia.

Insomnia can be incredibly dangerous. It has been proven that when a person goes without sleep for too long, they can become incoherent, confused, and unpredictable. For someone in recovery, prolonged lack of sleep can lead to relapses. Desperate for sleep, you may think having a drink will relax you and allow you to fall asleep, but it is never that simple. That one drink is enough to jeopardize the efforts you have put into your recovery completely, and often you will still find sleep impossible.

If you are in recovery and find it hard to sleep, consider keeping a sleep journal. Make notes of the bedtime rituals that seem most effective and also make a note of things that seem to make it more difficult to fall asleep. Review your sleep journal regularly looking for any patterns or clues to what is causing your insomnia and what may ease the problem. As a general rule of thumb, if you have laid in bed for more than 20 minutes and have not fallen asleep, insomnia will likely worsen the longer you lay there. So rather than lay there, get up and do something to distract yourself. Get a drink of water, listen to soft music, meditate, or read a book.

While insomnia may not seem like a serious problem, for those of us in recovery, it is not something to be disregarded. If you or a loved one are dealing with insomnia, get professional assistance right away. Call Villa Tranquil at 214-799-3080 to speak with a recovery specialist right away.