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Insomnia: A Real Problem for Recovering Addicts

Posted on :  November 27th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Men and women who are working through their addictions often suffer from insomnia. This common issue is a sleep disorder that prevents people from falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Some people have it occasionally, but there are others who have it nightly as a chronic disorder. Fighting an addiction is tough on its own and adding insomnia to it makes it even worse.

Insomnia can be caused by people who are taking medications like methadone or buprenorphine. As the brain learns to function without heroin or other addicting drugs, it needs to adjust to the new lifestyle. There are other physical issues that can also create insomnia, including chronic pain and problems that come from aging. People who are living with their addictions can have altered sleep-wake cycles, due to the chemicals that prevent the brain from falling asleep in a natural way rather than by passing out. Just like babies need to learn to sleep, recovering addicts do, too.

When it comes to sleep hygiene, the best thing to do is try to develop a sleep routine so you do not need to rely on meds to fall and stay asleep. Instead of asking for prescriptions to help you fall asleep, you can do it yourself with a few patterns and routines. At Towards Recovery Clinic, we work with people who have troubles with insomnia relating to their addictions. Here are some of our regular suggestions:

  1. Avoid caffeine after a set time. Caffeine is one of the most harmful substances for people who have insomnia. It will keep you awake, especially if you consume products that contain it in the evening and late afternoon. It is best to avoid coffee, caffeinated sodas, and energy drinks. Instead, drink water, decaffeinated tea or coffee, or natural fruit juices.
  2. Make your bed into a restful haven. You can do this by using comfortable, high-quality sheets and blankets. You should keep busy children, pets, and activities out of the bedroom, so it becomes like a sanctuary of peace to you. The room should be completely dark when you are ready to fall asleep, so turn off the television, darken your smartphone, and turn your alarm clock away from your face.
  3. Develop a set time to go to bed and wake up. The human body wants to get on a schedule, but we often destroy that schedule by having different sleep and wake times on different days of the week. Your weekend sleep schedule should be the same as the weekday schedule. It will not only help you develop a good routine, but it will help with headaches, chronic pain, and mood swings, too.
  4. Stop hitting snooze. The snooze button does not create good sleep. The human body needs REM sleep, which can be interrupted with the alarm clock repeatedly ringing in the morning. Simply set your alarm for the latest time you can get up in the morning and get up.
  5. Avoid naps. When you take a nap during the day, you trick your body by telling it that it does not need to sleep all night. Instead of taking a nap, go for a walk or just sit and think. Even if you love taking naps, fight them. Your body will appreciate it at night.
  6. Stay away from sleep aids, like liquor. You might think that a big alcoholic beverage will make you sleepy, but it does not. Booze interrupts the sleep cycle by making you fall asleep unnaturally faster; but, it will make you wake up sooner.
  7. Get good exercise every day. This means that you should try to get at least 20 minutes of relatively vigorous (for your fitness level) every day. This could be walking as fast as you can. It could be riding a stationary bike. It could also be doing simple calisthenics at your house. When you do exercise, do not do it right before bed. It will not make you tired, it will get your heart rate going and deliver energy to your body.

If you have any questions about treatment options, please contact us at Towards Recovery Clinics.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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