One of the most common issues faced by those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is sleep problems. Many recovering addicts find that they either cannot get enough sleep or they are getting too much. There may be a temptation to treat sleeping problems with medication such as sedatives, but this is not advisable as these medications can be highly addictive and can lead to relapse. If you are an affected individual, there are other non-drug treatments you can try that could help with these issues.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Worrying about not getting enough sleep tends to make the problem worse. Many people are convinced that they are not going to be able to sleep and when they lay down in bed at night, and then get stressed because they are afraid they will not be able to sleep. This can often lead to anxiety, which makes their fears become reality. The trick is to develop certain sleep habits that will enable you to drift off without too much trouble.
It is a good idea to get into some kind of routine when it comes to your bed time. You should try to go to bed around the same time every night (or even just on weekdays). There are many sleep-inducing methods you could try before bed, such as having a warm bath or shower, reading a book or magazine, listening to some relaxing music, having a loved one massage your back or head, or meditation. Some people drink warm milk before bed while others find that counting in their head helps them fall asleep.
For some, being unable to sleep has become a habit, so changing up the bedtime routine altogether can often help. It may be worth considering changing the location of the bed or going to bed at a later or earlier time.
You could also try to be as active as possible during the day to make yourself tired. Regular exercise can help to relax you and make it easier to sleep.
Make sure your room is not too hot or too cold and think about investing in some black-out blinds or curtains that will ensure the room is dark. Alternatively, you could wear an eye mask to stop light from bothering you.
Avoid using your mobile phone or tablet before you go to bed, as this can interfere with the ability to sleep. It is best to steer clear of electronic devices for at least an hour before going to bed.
Getting Too Much Sleep
Those who find it difficult to sleep may think they would love to be affected by needing too much sleep, but this problem can be just as distressing. If you are constantly tired and feel the need to sleep, it can affect your day-to-day life.
- Spending all day in bed will interfere with activities and relationships, so setting your alarm for a specific time every morning is wise. You could also arrange early morning activities that will give you a reason to get out of bed. Consider attending the earliest fellowship meeting possible to get you into the habit of getting up early.
- Get a hobby that you enjoy as this will give you a reason to be up and about instead of wasting your days sleeping in bed. Fill your day with activities so that you are not tempted to go home and get into bed.
- Avoid eating heavy meals that will leave you feeling drowsy and tired.
Sleep problems can be frustrating, but they do not have to be remedied with medications. However, if the above suggestions do not help, it would be wise to speak to your doctor for an alternative solution.