While in recovery, you most likely follow general recommendations to help you maintain your sobriety. These often include practicing self-care, going to meetings, engaging in sober activities, using your coping strategies, and building up your sober support network. While these things are crucial to maintaining long-term sobriety, a small detail that is critical to recovery is often overlooked at the expense of these things: sleep. Getting enough sleep is something you are taught from childhood, and you know you should ensure that you are sleeping properly, but sometimes life gets too chaotic. However, a good night’s sleep can help boost your recovery. Want to know how? Read on and learn how you can improve your recovery simply by sleeping!
Dangers of Not Getting Enough Sleep
Since you were young, you have probably heard adults stress the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. However, do you really know why getting enough sleep is so important? It turns out that sleep deprivation can cause a number of health consequences. In fact, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states that “the way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping.” Your physical and mental health can suffer significantly as a result of sleep deprivation.
Common consequences of sleep deprivation include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Mood swings
- Higher stress levels
- Inability to control emotions
- Suicidal ideation
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of obesity
- High blood sugar
- Increased appetite
- Lowered immune system
- Risk of chronic illness
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that adults need a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. Ensuring you get this amount consistently and are sleeping soundly can not only improve your health but your recovery as well.
How Does Sleep Affect Addiction Recovery?
Recovery is a lifelong journey that you will have to fight for constantly. Even after an extended period in recovery, you will still be healing some of the physical and mental scars left behind by addiction. Sleep is crucial to help this healing process, as your body heals best while you are sleeping. Some research studies have even stated that sleep disturbances among those currently in addiction recovery can place these individuals at a higher risk of relapse. These people are at higher risk because of the mental health effects due to sleep deficiency as well as lower energy levels that can keep a person from actively participating in recovery. Having a consistent sleep schedule can help you ensure that you are getting enough sleep to sustain your recovery and improve your overall health.
Making Sure You Get Enough Sleep
If you have struggled with sleep disturbances in the past, you may feel lost about where to begin when you want to improve your overall sleep quality.
Consider these tips to make sure you get some shut-eye:
- Have Set Times For Sleeping/Waking Up
If you don’t have a strict schedule for waking up and going to bed, you run the risk of not getting enough sleep. Not setting a schedule puts you at risk because you may stay up too late and end up only getting a few hours, or you leave your body playing catch up due to an inconsistent sleep schedule. Set times for every day of the week and stick to them.
- Destress and Calm Down Before Bed
Implementing calming practices before bed can help get you in the right mindset for sleep. Consider turning off your phone an hour before bed, taking a warm bath, meditating, doing breathing exercises, or reading your favorite book. Doing these activities every night will signal to your brain that it is time to relax and get ready to sleep.
- Don’t Exercise Close to Bedtime
If you missed your morning workout, you might feel tempted to get it in right before bedtime. However, exercising before bed can increase your energy levels and make it difficult to sleep. Stick to working out earlier in the day to help you feel more tired in the evenings.
- Make Your Bedroom a Calming Space
The environment in which you are sleeping can play a significant role in your sleep quality. Make sure your space is devoid of light or sound to ensure it is optimal for sleeping. Consider using earplugs or blackout curtains to help with this. You should also ensure that your bed is only used for sleep; this signals your body that when you lay in bed, you are doing so to get rest. Don’t use your bed to relax, watch television, or work. You will notice a difference in the way you sleep by implementing these simple measures and boost your recovery by doing so.
Your sleep quality can have a significant impact on your overall recovery and health. Making sure you are getting adequate sleep at night will do wonders for your daily life and maintenance of your sobriety. You can ensure you get enough sleep by making slight adjustments to your bedtime routine. Over time, the improvement you see will have you wondering why you didn’t do these things sooner. NorthStar Transitions is here to help if you are still struggling or need further advice concerning sleep habits and recovery. We want you to experience the joys of long-term sobriety, and we understand the critical role that sleep plays in this. We can help you adjust your sleep schedule and more to maximize the benefits you get out of it. Don’t let something as simple as sleep ruin your recovery; start taking action now. Call NorthStar Transitions today at (303) 558-6400 to learn more.