Substance Abuse and Sleep
Sleep is very important to everyone, but critical to somebody recovering from a substance use disorder. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 46% of substance abuse patients report using the substance to self-medicate sleep problems and are 5 to 10 times more likely to have some form of sleep disorder. Diagnosing and treating a sleep disorder can have a significant impact on facilitating remission. Here are three reasons why sleep is important to someone recovering from a substance use disorder.
- Sleep deprivation can cause depression and anxiety. Someone recovering from a substance use disorder will likely already be anxious and maybe a little depressed. An improper amount of sleep will only make their symptoms worse. As a matter of fact, in many cases the reason one starts using is because of anxiety or depression and these are symptoms that need to be dealt with. Proper sleep is a good place to start.
- Proper sleep helps repair the brain. Those who are recovering from a substance use disorder have done damage to their brains. They may have a decrease in neurotransmitters, dead brain cells or done damage to neurons among other things. Proper sleep will help the brain repair itself. It is recommended that an adult get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Proper sleep provides more energy and better concentration throughout the day. This is extremely important for someone just starting out in recovery, because they’re in the process of learning new concepts and new ways of thinking. Someone early in treatment is constantly being molded to give up their old negative thinking patterns and develop them into positive ones. Think of a potter molding a bar of clay into a pot using water and a spinning wheel. The person in recovery is also being molded or transformed and needs sleep just like the clay needs water to make the transformation possible.
Here are a few tips for the recovering addict to get a better night’s sleep.
- Have a routine. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day
- Do not eat at least 3 hours prior to retiring.
- Make sure there are no distractions in your bedroom. Dark, quiet and cool is best.
- Exercise and meditate daily.