Our sleep cycles have a significant impact on our overall physical and mental health, as sleep deprivation can take a toll on addiction recovery. The majority of substances alter our brain chemistry and natural sleep cycle. After prolonged substance use, our bodies have difficulty adjusting back to a regular and healthy sleep schedule. Many individuals experience insomnia while undergoing treatment because their body has become dependent on a substance to sleep.

Why Is Sleep Important?

An inconsistent sleep cycle has many effects on your overall well-being. There have been a variety of studies observing the results of an inadequate level of sleep and an inconsistent sleep patterns. According to BMC Public Health, inadequate sleep is more detrimental than an irregular sleep cycle. However, both have adverse effects on our well-being. They can also worsen each other, and they are often related problems that affect the sleep cycle as a whole.

Inconsistent Sleep Cycles

Irregular sleep cycles over extended periods can lead to a variety of long-term health effects. Sleeping for varying amounts of time or frequently taking naps goes against your circadian rhythm and affects your body’s ability to metabolize sugar and manage your energy levels throughout the day. This can lead to weight gain, decreased energy, and increased chances of developing chronic disease.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation produces the same adverse effects as inconsistent sleep patterns. Along with the effects listed above, the result of sleep deprivation includes an increased chance of cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, and type 2 diabetes. In a number of cases, the metabolism of the body begins to react as if the sleep-deprived individual were obese, even if they are not. This all originates from long-term sleep deprivation.

Effects on Recovery

As you can see, our sleep habits have a substantial effect on our overall health. Managing your sleep patterns and developing a healthy sleep cycle can produce many benefits for you during your recovery journey. The following benefits directly influence the progression through addiction recovery. Healthy sleep habits will enable you to:

  • Maintain energy
  • Diminish your cravings
  • Improve your judgment
  • Decrease your irritability

Many substances affect sleep, either by inducing it or stimulating energy. In recovery, you may notice an onset of side effects to your sleeping habits once you quit using the addictive substances. If you quit using stimulants, you may begin to feel extreme levels of exhaustion and sleep too much. When quitting the use of a depressant, you may find yourself struggling to fall asleep. This can lead to inconsistency and sleep deprivation.

Managing a healthy sleep schedule is one aspect of adjusting your body to functioning without the substance. Altered sleep patterns are common symptoms of withdrawal that need to run their course. With consistent irregular sleep habits or sleep deprivation, you have a heightened likelihood of falling back into substance use for assistance. Conversely, managing your sleep schedule decreases the chance of experiencing a relapse in your recovery.

How to Improve Your Sleeping Habits

If you notice your sleep habits are taking a toll on your recovery progress, there are practices you can engage in to help yourself fall asleep and maintain consistency. First, decide what your desired sleep schedule looks like. Set yourself a designated bedtime and wake-up time. Making these times the same every day of the week can improve the level of consistency in your circadian rhythm. It is recommended to get six to nine hours of sleep a night, depending on your individual needs. Setting a schedule where you get approximately eight or nine gives you some room for leeway if you cannot fall asleep quickly.

If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep, try a calming activity before going to bed. Engaging in something relaxing, such as meditation, stretching, or reading, can calm the mind and help you reach a state of sleep faster. If these suggestions do not work, try progressive muscle relaxation.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique used to relax the muscles in the body. This exercise starts by having you focus on your feet and then work your way up the body. Lying down on your back, tense up the muscles in your feet for 10 seconds, then relax them. Do this to each muscle you can isolate, working your way through the body. Try this two or three times if needed to reach a point of relaxation. The goal of this exercise is to bring your body to a full state of relaxation from which sleep can arise with ease.

The consistency of our sleep schedules and the amount of sleep we get have a significant impact on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Conversely, neglecting your sleeping habits can take a toll on your mental health in addiction recovery. Withdrawal symptoms of many substances include some impact on sleep quality or consistency. Managing your sleep cycle and ensuring you take care of your body’s needs is essential when working through recovery and avoiding reliance on a substance. If you avoid creating a healthy sleep pattern, you may fall back into relying on the addictive substance to feel rested. In order to avoid reaching the temptation of relapse, learn to develop and maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Consider the practices described here to help you fall asleep and keep a consistent sleep schedule. To learn more about the effects of sleeping habits on recovery, reach out to Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.

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