Dealing With Insomnia in Early Recovery

Prolonged and severe substance dependency strips us of many life skills we may have previously taken for granted. We forget how to properly feed ourselves, we forget acceptable practices of personal hygiene, we forget how to go to bed at an appropriate time and wake up early in the morning, ready to take on the day. In fact, we frequently become creatures of the night, hiding from sunlit reality like spiders hiding from rolled up newspapers. Sleep becomes as much a necessity as food and shelter, falling second to obtaining drugs and alcohol and using as much as we need to keep us alive. As soon as we make a commitment to get sober, we are essentially making a pledge to relearn how to be a human.

In Order To Be A Human, You Must Sleep At Night

Attending an inpatient drug rehab is kind of like taking a crash course in ‘being human’ – it can be a major shock to one’s system after spending so long spidering in the dark corners of substance abuse. Most residential treatment centers require patients to wake at the same time every morning, working towards establishing a routine that will benefit them in day-to-day life. Unfortunately, an early daily wake-up time frequently leads to fatigue during the day, seeing as falling asleep in the first place still presents a major hurdle for many. Insomnia is a common disorder in those new to sobriety, and can be irritating, discouraging, and sometimes detrimental to getting the most out of all of the offered therapeutic sessions during the day. It sometimes takes months of adjustment to get used to falling asleep at a certain time every night, and the process of re-adjustment frequently lasts much longer than necessary based on an individual’s lack of knowledge regarding how to obtain regular sleeping patterns. In order to make the adjustment as easy and painless as possible, we have compiled a list of several steps you may want to take in order to ensure a better night’s sleep in early sobriety.

How To Sleep Through The Night in Early Recovery

Aside from sticking to a strict sleep schedule, one of the most important and effective steps you can take during the day to ensure a better sleep at night is to make sure you are getting enough sunlight and physical activity. You may find that spending time in the sun will wear you out physically – this is because when you are exposed to sunlight, your body must expend more energy in order to cool you down. The more time you spend outside, the more tired you will be come nightfall. Additionally, physical activity will help to wear your body out for obvious reasons. Spend half an hour jogging during the day if possible, preferably outside. Just be sure you do not exercise too close to bedtime, for the endorphins released after working out may adversely keep you awake. Try implementing a bedtime ritual that helps you to wind down and relax. Take a hot shower before bedtime, drink a cup of chamomile tea, and read a chapter or two in a book. Teaching your body to wind down during a nighttime ritual will help train your mind to relax at a certain time every night, greatly improving your sleep patterns. Above all else, do not get discouraged! Inability to fall right asleep is normal, and if you are patient and forgiving of yourself, things will get better.

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