insomnia in recovery

Insomnia in Early Sobriety: Catch Some Z’s!

It is exceedingly common for those in the early stages of addiction recovery to struggle greatly with simply sleeping through the night. Insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns can lead to fatigue and exhaustion during the day, both symptoms that can be detrimental to those working towards maintaining sobriety. Most individuals find that after they have been sober for several weeks their sleep patterns normalize and they are once again able to sleep through the night uninterrupted. However, this readjustment back to normalcy may take quite awhile. Here are several reasons as to why:

Reasons Behind Insomnia

  • Symptoms of withdrawal may be uncomfortable and last for quite some time
  • If one has abused sleep medications for an extended period of time, it may be difficult for the body to re-learn how to fall asleep on its own
  • Transitioning from constant use into sobriety is a stressful time, and one may experience racing thoughts
  • Living in a strange and unfamiliar environment may take time to get used to
  • A forced change in sleep pattern may take awhile to get accustomed to

Without question, experiencing a consistent lack of sleep can be extremely aggravating and uncomfortable. It can also be dangerous, seeing as relapse may seem an appealing option for those who have been suffering from insomnia for a prolonged period of time. However, relapse is never an option. There are many other ways to achieve a good night’s sleep without risking your life and all that you have been tirelessly working towards. Below are several suggestions that you may find helpful if you are beginning to grow aggravated by a seeming inability to fall asleep at night.

Learn How To Fall Asleep at Night

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks late at night. As members of the recovery community, we seem to be instilled with an innate love of coffee and all things Red Bull. Cut out the caffeine starting at around noon if you truly want to wind down by bedtime.
  • There are certain herbs you can take in the evening that will help you fall into a restful sleep. Try Sleepytime Tea, which is made with relaxing herbs such as chamomile, or get your hands on some Melatonin and take one at around 7 or 8 (several hours before you plan on hitting the hay). Just be sure whatever you take is herbal and never take more than suggested.
  • Read a good book. Trying to fall asleep to the gentle hum (not) of the television is never a good idea. Find a nice thick novel that keeps your attention, dim the lights, and read it in bed until your eyelids grow heavy.
  • Exercise during the day. If you spend all day sitting stagnant at a desk, take a little jog or Zumba class sometime in the evening to expel all of the pent up energy you’ve accumulated pounding Monsters in your cubicle.
  • Every night before you climb into bed, kneel before it and pray for a good night’s rest. Concentrating your mind and body on a conscious and objective goal can be extremely effective in helping you get to bed at a timely hour.

It is important to remember that this is only a temporary stage, and as you get more settled in your sobriety sleep will come easier. Be patient, meditate, and allow yourself time to grow accustomed to a new sleep schedule. Sweet dreams!