When we first get sober, it is common to struggle to get a quality night’s rest on a regular basis, as post acute withdrawal symptoms are known to interfere with our ability to fall and stay asleep. Paradoxically, early recovery is a time in which it is especially important to get a good night’s sleep, as our bodies and minds use this time to perform necessary healing processes which are repairing the damage done in our active addiction. Here are a few tips to help you improve your sleep quality so that you awaken rested, refreshed, and ready to face the day.
The best thing you can do to improve your sleep is to establish and adhere to a regular sleep schedule. In our active addiction, we usually passed out at random intervals and regained consciousness whenever our chosen intoxicant wore off, making our sleep schedules completely random and sporadic. Our sleep/wake cycles are very dependent on routine, as our internal clocks use these regular intervals to trigger the release of neurochemicals which promote sleep. Incorporate a regular bedtime into your weekly schedule as well as a regular wake up time, even on your days off. This will go a long way towards improving both the quality of your sleep and your ability to fall asleep with ease.
Expending energy throughout your day is another great way to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can be difficult to accomplish this when you are stuck in a dysfunctional sleep cycle, as you will be dragging through the day feeling very low energy. While exercising may be the last thing in the world you want to do, take a leap of faith and understand the logic behind partaking in some cardiovascular exercise - when our body is physically tired, it craves sleep and will work to induce a state of rest in your mind. So while you may dread the thought of going for an afternoon jog or starting your day on the stationary bike, you will be greatly rewarded when night falls and you are able to slip off to sleep effortlessly and sleep throughout the night.
No one ever said that once we get sober everything comes to us easily and effortlessly. Indeed, we usually experience a great deal of struggle and obstacles in early recovery as the effects of our substance abuse are fully felt for the first time. One such issue which crops up in many of those in early sobriety revolves around sleep - either struggling to fall asleep or to stay asleep. We did not get sober to form a dependency on sleep medications, and in fact these drugs often prohibit a deeper, more restful sleep. On the other hand, it would be detrimental to our recovery if we are going about our day in an exhausted haze. As such, you should seek alternative measures to promote restful sleep in your mind and body like those suggested here. Of course, starting and ending your day with prayer should already be your usual practice, as this helps clear your mind and remove anxieties so you are in a relaxed frame of mind. Try a few of these common sense holistic measures in order to improve your sleep in early recovery - you may be surprised at just how effective they can be!