The Importance of Sleep in Addiction Recovery


Carissa Wilcox on September 9, 2022 at 8:27 AM

Maintaining sobriety during recovery usually involves adhering to universally accepted guidelines. Self-care, attending meetings, participating in sober activities, utilizing coping methods, constructing a sober support network, and perhaps even living in a recovery home are all standard components of an effective recovery plan. While they are all vital to long-term sobriety, they are often prioritized above an essential component of recovery: sleep. Unfortunately, many people nowadays underestimate the importance of sleep in addiction recovery. If you are one of them, we're here to change your mind and convince you to work on improving your sleeping habits.

The importance of getting enough quality sleep during addiction recovery

You've probably heard since you were a kid how important it is to get enough sleep, and you know you should make sure you're doing that, but sometimes life just gets in the way. However, the link between getting enough sleep and beating an addiction is intricate and complex, and resting well at night can speed up your recovery process.

Man in a dark gray t-shirt sleeping while holding his hands under the back of his head

In this article, that's what we're going to talk about - we'll help you understand the importance of sleep in addiction recovery as well as give you tips to improve your sleeping habits. But before we get to that, let's find out the consequences of not getting enough quality sleep during addiction recovery.

Consequences of not getting enough sleep

The value of a full night's rest is something you've likely been harped on by your elders ever since you were a kid. But do you truly understand why it's so crucial that you get adequate sleep?

Different research has linked multiple health problems to insufficient sleep. In fact, they go as far as to suggest that the way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. So both your physical and mental well-being are at risk if you're suffering from sleep deprivation.

Here are just some consequences of not getting enough sleep:

  • Challenges in maintaining focus and mood swings.
  • Increased levels of stress.
  • Lack of emotional regulation and impulsivity.
  • Depression and anxiety. In some cases, even suicidal thoughts. 
  • An issue with hypertension
  • The risk of obesity and diabetes increases due to an increase in appetite.
  • Immune system suppression raises the potential for long-term sickness.

Man wearing a gray t-shirt and yawning while holding his hand over his mouth

The CDC recommends that individuals get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Consistently getting this quantity and making sure you're getting quality shut-eye will do wonders for your health, help you find peace of mind, and consequently speed up and aid your addiction recovery.

The link between sleep deprivation and developing an addiction

Sleep disorders, including insomnia, have been linked to an increased risk of substance abuse and addiction. It stands to reason; that substance usage is a typical response among those who struggle to sleep. People with insomnia often resort to substances to get some shut-eye, whether it's Ambien, alcohol, or marijuana. They may require additional stimulants throughout the day. Unfortunately, both of these have the potential to become addictive.

Addiction recovery and the importance of sleep

Your quest for recovery will be an ongoing process for the rest of your life. Even after an extended period in recovery, you will still be repairing some of the physical and psychic scars left behind by addiction. And although you'll have a recovery resource center available for you at all times, there are things you'll need to handle on your own.

Working on improving the quality of your sleep is one of them. That's mainly because healing occurs most rapidly during sleep. Therefore getting enough of it will significantly aid in your addiction recovery.

On the other hand, sleep problems have been linked to an increased risk of relapse in people in recovery. These people are at higher risk because of the mental health issues that come with sleep insufficiency, as well as lower energy levels that can prohibit a person from fully participating in treatment. So a consistent sleep routine will help you guarantee that you get enough sleep to sustain your recovery and improve your overall health.

How to improve your sleep?

Maintaining your sobriety and improving your day-to-day functioning both benefit greatly from regular, restful sleep. But if you had trouble sleeping in the past, they might show their ugly faces again during your recovery. However, changing up your bedtime routine as well as some parts of your daily routine can help you obtain the rest you need. So here are some suggestions to help you obtain a good night's rest.

Keep regular sleeping and waking hours.

Not getting enough sleep is more likely if you don't stick to a routine for getting up and going to bed. If you don't commit to a regular bedtime, you risk staying up too late and sleeping for only a few hours or forcing your body to play catch up owing to erratic sleep patterns. So make sure to schedule regular sleeping times and keep them throughout the week.

Give meditation a chance

Things that you do during the day can negatively influence your ability to fall asleep at night. This is especially true if you're going through something stressful. For instance, moving while going through a difficult time, such as rehab, can be quite a challenge. Meditation can help you keep anxiety at bay and handle stressful situations like this one better.

De-stress and relax just before bedtime

Incorporating some relaxation routine just before bedtime might help set the stage for a restful night's sleep. An hour before bedtime, you can try turning off your phone, having a warm bath, meditating, practicing deep breathing techniques, or reading a good book. Doing these things every night will teach your brain that it's almost time to wind down and catch some shut-eye.

Avoid working out right before bed

You could be tempted to squeeze in a workout before night if you didn't have time in the morning. However, if you exercise right before bed, you may find that you're too energized to fall asleep. If you want to feel more tired in the evenings, stick to working out earlier in the day.

Prepare your bedroom as a relaxing retreat

The quality of your sleep may be affected by the environment in which you sleep. Make sure your resting environment is free of any distractions, including noise and light. You might even want to invest in some earplugs, and some blackout drapes. In addition, you should make sleep your bed's only purpose, as this will teach your body to associate bedtime with rest. Taking these easy steps will improve your sleep and aid in your recovery.

White roses next to a bed with white sheets

Final thoughts on the importance of sleep in addiction recovery

We hope you now understand the importance of sleep in addiction recovery and, more importantly, what you can do to improve your sleeping habits and thus speed up your healing process. We won't lie; the recovery process will probably be the most challenging thing you'll experience in your life. Still, with the help of addiction recovery experts and your support network, we're sure you'll be able to turn your life around completely. You've got it in you!


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