Sleep is often one of the most difficult and important aspects of recovery. While it is essential to maintain a healthy daily routine and lifestyle, getting a good night’s sleep can be an incredibly complicated affair. Those who are struggling with addiction and moving through the recovery process, suffer from mental health disorders, or have experienced trauma can all have their sleep patterns disrupted in various ways.
Learning to get a good night’s sleep is a skill on its own and essential to ensure that your mind and body are well-rested and prepared to actively participate in the recovery process, as well as cope with the stresses of the day ahead.
How Mental Health, Addiction, and Trauma Can Affect Sleep
Each person’s sleep patterns can be disrupted in several different ways depending on their unique circumstances, with both physical and mental factors making it difficult to either get to sleep in the first place or remain asleep once at rest.
Experiencing physical discomfort resulting from addiction recovery or trauma can make it incredibly hard to reach a peaceful state in which to fall asleep. Aches and pains, muscle tension, nausea, increased heart rate, and headaches are just some of the symptoms that can afflict each person. Each one is not just inhibiting on its own but can also make getting to sleep incredibly difficult.
Feelings of increased anxiety or depression can also leave a person’s mind wide awake, even if their bodies are exhausted. Anxiety, paranoia, fear, and guilt are extremely powerful emotions that can constantly stimulate one’s mind, with some people remaining hypervigilant or unconvinced of their safety even while in their own homes. Feelings of shame can also compromise one’s emotional state and plague the mind to a perpetual sense of unrest.
Even if an individual has gotten to sleep, maintaining a consistent sleep cycle throughout the night can be another hurdle on its own, as those who experience feelings of anxiety, depression, or who have experienced trauma can be incredibly prone to vivid nightmares. These nightmares can jolt their bodies and minds awake and into a serious state of alertness, compromising their restful state for the remainder of the night.
How to Improve Sleep During Recovery
Getting a full night of sleep is paramount for providing the body and mind with the rest and respite needed to be prepared to incorporate new coping strategies and effectively practice mindfulness. Furthermore, it is crucial in maintaining the higher mind’s decision-making. As a result, it is essential to incorporate helpful sleeping practices to ensure that this time is restful and rejuvenating.
Turn Off Electronics
Electronics are incredibly stimulating. While their use throughout the day can be used for entertainment and self-care, they can actually create more of a hurdle when it comes time to get to sleep. Electronics create a great deal of blue light, which is harder on one’s eyes and can make it much more difficult to fall asleep than in a darkened space. While some individuals may utilize electronics to listen to music or podcasts as they fall asleep, it is important to be very selective about how this is used.
While the use of ambient noise can be beneficial and help detract feelings of anxiety from one’s sleeping space, listening to upbeat music, lyrics, or listening to podcasts and conversations can all continue to stimulate the mind to a point where it has difficulty falling asleep.
Make It Routine
Sleep can be programmed as any other routine part of one’s day. Starting a pre-bedtime routine at the same time each night can program the body to begin expecting rest and sleep at a specific, regular point in the day. While this strategy can take some time to become effective, maintaining this regular time and adhering strictly to it can leave the body and mind expecting to get to sleep regularly.
Having these routines can also signal to the body and mind that it is time to wind down for the day. Having consistent daily practices, such as a hygiene routine or practicing meditation, mindfulness, or journaling just before bed, can allow the body and mind to settle into this healthy and productive routine.
Caffeine is notorious for getting people up and moving—the opposite of the goal here. However, caffeine can cause even more detrimental effects throughout the recovery process as it can accentuate feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and an increase in stress. Keeping a healthy diet and avoiding caffeinated drinks can be crucial in allowing the body and mind to rest without additional imposed hurdles to your sleep.
Sleep is an essential part of your daily routine, and practicing various techniques to help you get to sleep and stay asleep is important to make the most of your day. At Chateau Recovery, we understand the need for rest as much as the need for actively engaging in new therapeutic practices and are ready to help you take the first step into finding a balance that works for you in your new sober life. Your time with us can be customized to fit your needs and goals, with various therapeutic options available, from art and music therapy to yoga and mindfulness practices. We also offer an individualized case management approach to your time with us, allowing us to help you directly and develop personalized, pertinent skills relevant to your daily needs. For more on how we can customize a recovery program for you, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (435) 222-5225.