In early recovery from long term addiction, there can be sleep disturbances, and many in recovery find it difficult to sleep much at all. We all know what states of mind develop without good sleep — irritability, lack of focus, apathy, and so forth. Recovery requires that a person avoid these negative states of mind as much as possible. Here are some sleeping tips in early recovery from William White :
12 Sleeping Tips for Early Recovery
1. Create a good sleeping environment, e.g., bed comfort, quietness, darkness, comfortable temperature, and ventilation
2. Consider a white noise generator if there is a problem with noise in the environment.
3. Set a consistent time period for going to bed and getting up, including on weekends
4. Avoid daytime naps
5. Eliminate or reduce caffeine intake (particularly after 3 pm)
6. Get exercise early in the day, but avoid exercise in the evening
7. Keep a sleep diary by your bed, noting sleep patterns, troublesome thoughts, dreams, etc. and discuss troublesome dreams with your counselor, sponsor or others in recovery.
8. Learn and utilized relaxation techniques, e.g., progressive relaxation, visualization, breathing exercises; use recovery prayers and self-talk (slogans) as an aid in getting to sleep.
9. Minimize activities other than sleeping in your bed, e.g., eating, working, watching television, reading, etc.
10. Avoid large, late meals; have a light snack before bedtime—some that can actually aid sleep, e.g., small turkey sandwich, warm milk, a banana, a cup of hot chamomile tea
11. Create a consistent bedtime routine and stick with it.
12. If you can’t get to sleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing in low light until you feel sleepy
It’s important in recovery to constantly strive for health and wellness, because the effort itself enhances recovery. When a person drifts and lets external forces or physical problems have their way, this can lead to relapse. Being aware of our thoughts, environment, emotions and physical state is vital in recovery. Letting a doctor know about sleep problems is also advised, because there may be other reasons for the lack of sleep that a medical professional can address.
If you’re always tired, mentally, emotionally and physically, it prevents you from taking actions that enhance recovery. Exercise is a good way to develop a “good” tired state, one that’s satisfying and relaxing and allows the mind to turn off the head noise — it’s hard to exercise if you feel sluggish from no sleep, but forcing yourself to expend energy might be what’s needed. Again, consult with a physician who knows about addiction and recovery. Being aware and taking action to enhance health and wellness — this is a big part of recovery.