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The Importance of Sleep in Recovery from Addiction

There have been countless studies conducted on sleep. This can include the benefits of sleep, what happens when you don’t get enough sleep, how sleep can impact daily functioning, and how to set yourself up for a good night of sleep. The reason this topic is so heavily researched and discussed is that sleep, in fact, is of critical importance to you and your health. Many suggest sleep is as important to your survival as food and water.

Quality of sleep impacts everything from your brain functioning to how well your body heals after you pushed yourself a little too hard during your last workout class and pulled a muscle. Many things can affect your quality of sleep. This can include stress, diet, activity level, and more. Addiction, as you can imagine, has a tremendous impact on sleep.

Good Sleep

What is considered a good amount of good quality of sleep anyway? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 years of age get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Just as important as the number of hours spent sleeping is the quality of your sleep. A few indicators that could suggest poor quality of sleep include snoring or struggling to breathe or repeated waking during the night.

Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep has been shown to have a tremendous impact on mental health. The quality and amount of sleep you are getting each night can alter your body’s responses to stress and your perspective on things. Lack of sleep can also increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. Learn more about the correlation between inadequate sleep and various mental illnesses here.

Because lack of sleep negatively impacts the way the brain functions and processes things, you are more likely to respond to situations in a less thoughtful or a more impulsive way. What seems like a huge problem or challenge after a sleepless night may feel much more manageable after you’ve gotten some much-needed rest.

Sleep can also directly affect your mood and energy levels. Too little sleep can leave you feeling down and lethargic. Prioritizing sleep is important to maintaining a positive outlook, clear mind, and focus.

Sleep and Brain Function

Your brain requires sleep to function at its best. If you think about it, your brain controls everything you do. It controls the way your body moves, the way your organs function,  the way you think, and the way you feel. Without quality sleep, all of these processes can be disrupted. According to the article, “Differential Effects of Addictive Drugs on Sleep and Sleep Stages” by Harold W. Gordon, Ph.D., “Addictive drugs affect sleep both in individuals currently using drugs and in individuals who have withdrawn from drugs.” The article goes on to say that “sleep disturbances are reported by individuals for some drugs long after they have quit taking them and after other withdrawal symptoms have subsided, [which] suggests that addictive drugs and sleep share some of the same neurobiological mechanisms.”

For example, addiction can interfere with your brain’s signals that would typically cue your body to settle down, relax, and prepare for rest. Many substances can create chemical changes in the body that disrupt our natural circadian rhythms.

Sleep and Addiction

Throughout addiction and during heavy substance use, sleep patterns tend to be extreme. In most cases, you are either sleeping most of the time or hardly sleeping at all. It can be common to treat sleep disruptions with more substances resulting in more and prolonged sleep difficulties. Maybe you struggle to stay awake, so you choose substances that will help keep you alert. Alternatively, perhaps you battle insomnia and choose substances that help you relax and quiet your mind. This becomes an endless cycle of trying to treat one problem with another problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The relationship may be complex and bidirectional: Substance use causes sleep problems; but insomnia and insufficient sleep may also be a factor raising the risk of drug use and addiction.”

Sleep and Recovery

Getting good sleep during recovery is very important. There is often a huge transition concerning sleep as you enter treatment. This is common, and sleep quality is often poor during this time. Give yourself a little grace and be patient; your sleep quality could worsen before it improves. After your body has adapted and you have adjusted to the changes of treatment, getting quality sleep is crucial to your progress.

Getting the proper amounts of good sleep can also help prevent relapse. As discussed, inadequate sleep can result in increased mental health symptoms, dampened mood, lack of energy and motivation, and even relapse. It is important to keep yourself well-rested and feeling your best to remain on track with recovery.

Getting enough quality sleep each night is critical to good health. Sleep affects everything from your mood to your ability to focus and function well. Addiction can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. As you enter treatment, sleep patterns may shift. Getting good sleep is crucial during recovery and essential for making progress and staying on course. Enlightened Solutions takes a whole-person approach to treatment, meaning we address all aspects of health. Sleep quality is an area of focus during treatment, as we understand that getting good rest is often a struggle for many coming into our program. Enlightened Solutions introduces and encourages various holistic strategies for improving sleep quality and creating a safe and comfortable environment for sleep. If you or someone you care about is battling drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.

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