A common symptom many experience in early recovery is insomnia. For some this only lasts for the acute-withdrawal stage, but for others it can last for months into early recovery. Those who have been abusing alcohol or drugs may not have experienced natural sleep in years, so it can take a bit of time for things to settle down. Here are some tips to help you deal with insomnia without the need of medication.
Stick to a regular sleeping pattern. If you are having trouble sleeping at the moment, it is recommended that you go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time in the morning. This trains your brain to return to a regular pattern,
Do not drink caffeinated drinks close to bedtime. If you have insomnia, it is best to cut out all caffeine by about four in the afternoon.
Remove the TV and other types of entertainment from your bedroom. If you spend time in your bedroom watching TV, your brain can begin to associate being there with being awake. You need to break this association by only using your bed for sleep. It may also be necessary to stop reading in bed as well.
Avoid looking at the clock. One of the worst things you can do if you are having trouble sleeping is keep looking at the clock. This can just make you feel anxious and therefore even less likely to sleep.
Get up and do something. If you develop the habit of lying in bed awake, it can make the insomnia worse. If sleep just is not coming, a good idea is to get up and do something. Once you feel tired again, you can then give sleeping another try.
Learn some relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques can be perfect for getting you in the mood for sleep. If you do these just before you go to bed, you should find that sleep comes more easily.
Avoid too much stimulation in the hour before bedtime. It is important that you prepare for sleep even before you enter your bedroom. This means avoiding anything that will get you excited or your adrenalin pumping. Exercise is great, but try to avoid it right before bedtime unless it is something relaxing such as yoga or Tai Chi.
Get plenty of exercise during the day. Your body needs exercise not only for health reasons, but also as a way to release excess energy that could have you tossing and turning at night. If you spend all your time just sitting around, your body can find it hard to relax at bedtime. A long walk in the early evening can put you in the right frame of mind for sleep.
Try to get a bit of sun every day. If you have been a bit of a night owl, it could mean that your circadian rhythm is out of sync. One way to reset this is to get a bit of sun in the morning and again in the afternoon. You can do this even on a cloudy day in winter – the sunlight can reach you so long as you are outside in the open air.
Avoid a large meal before bedtime. A common reason why many struggle to get to sleep is that they have a full stomach. This is just going to make you feel uncomfortable and therefore less likely to sleep. Try not to eat anything after 6pm – this can also be a good idea if you are looking to control your weight.