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The Importance of Sleep in Early Sobriety

In active addiction, we rarely adhered to healthy sleep routines. Our schedules surrounded drug and alcohol use and were often erratic, or we rarely slept sober. When we enter into a life of sobriety, it is time for us to make positive changes for our mental health and sleeping is an integral part of our healing process.

Early sobriety is a time when we are healing physically and mentally from the damaging effects of drug and alcohol addiction. Not sleeping enough is linked with major mental and physical health consequences. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, “Poor sleep and depression are very closely linked; treating one condition will often improve the other. Given that research suggests that 60-90% of patients with depression have insomnia (and approximately 20% of people with depression have sleep apnea), looking after our sleep to promote good mental health seems imperative.  The Harvard Mental Health Newsletter states that ‘Once viewed only as symptoms, sleep problems may actually contribute to psychiatric disorders’. People who sleep poorly are much more likely to develop significant mental illness, including depression and anxiety, than those who sleep well.” Given the links between mental health issues and sleep, if we improve our sleep, we can also improve the mental health issues that are common in early sobriety.

One of the best ways to get adequate, healthy sleep is by practicing “sleep hygiene.” According to Harvard Medical School, “Many experts believe that people learn insomnia, and can learn how to sleep better. Good ‘sleep hygiene’ is the term often used to include tips like maintaining a regular sleep-and-wake schedule, using the bedroom only for sleeping or sex, and keeping the bedroom dark and free of distractions like the computer or television. Some experts also recommend sleep retraining: staying awake longer in order to ensure sleep is more restful.” Physical activity during the day and making minor lifestyle adjustments can also help ensure that we are getting healthier sleep. Harvard Medical School further explains, “Most people know that caffeine contributes to sleeplessness, but so can alcohol and nicotine. Alcohol initially depresses the nervous system, which helps some people fall asleep, but the effects wear off in a few hours and people wake up. Nicotine is a stimulant, which speeds heart rate and thinking. Giving up these substances is best, but avoiding them before bedtime is another option.” If we can cut out caffeine and nicotine, exercise, and adhere to a routine sleep schedule, we will find that we are more rested and alert throughout the day, aiding in our ability to heal and engage in a recovery program.

Your life can become one of happiness and health in sobriety. You can embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery by making the decision to seek help today. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavior health and addictions specialists with spiritual guides and holistic experts to help you develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431