While I was recovering from my addiction, one of the most common issues I was experiencing was insomnia in general.
I used to get very anxious when going to bed and it could turn into a nightmare before I was even asleep.
I thought it would be something that only happened to me but when I decided to share my thoughts with the group, I was told to my surprise that sleeping problems happen rather often during the first stages of recovery.
Fortunately, like most things in life, it has a solution.
There are many ways we can help our bodies and minds to have a good sleeping pattern, and there are many reasons why we’d like to keep body and mind happy and healthy.
However, for now, we are going to focus on some tips that I have found to sleep better after rehab:
#1. Make exercise a routine
I have never been the sporty kind of person, least of all when I was using.
To be honest, the only reason why I thought of giving it a shot was that I was turning to food when I had anxiety and that obviously was starting to have a visible effect on me.
Luckily, my family has always been into fitness and such, so it wasn’t too hard to find support and partners to workout with.
Working out not only helped from the first day because I ended up exhausted, but it also had a much deeper effect on my body, since my blood was circulating much better as the doctor pointed out when I went for my regular check-up.
I obviously had a new hobby that was helpful and healthy, so the results were also helpful and healthy.
I give a lot of credit to exercise when thinking why I am able to sleep so soundly at night.
#2. Practice Yoga and Meditation
When I was abusing substances, I came to realize in the end that I was slowly breaking my mind and my body apart.
There is an endless number of ways addiction can ruin someone’s life, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end.
I firmly believe up to this day that Yoga and meditation are two of the best ways to glue it all back together.
The inner peace it gives to those who engage in practice has no equal in any other field.
Being able to train your mind and body through these methods is as helpful to our everyday life as it is to our sleep pattern.
#3. Avoid naps during the day
A bit of an obvious one, but I’m mentioning it because I was a great fan of naps.
Partly because of my addiction and depression, napping became a part of my daily life, which obviously didn’t help when trying to have a good night sleep.
After having naps our bodies can be rested enough and won’t feel the need to have an 8-hour profound sleep session.
This can also lead to getting anxious and eventually an anxiety-insomnia cycle, which can be avoided if you make the effort to avoid sleeping during the day and save it for your nights only.
#4. Avoid or at least reduce caffeine consumption
We know that caffeine can be of great help when trying to start the day.
However, to be honest I didn’t find it as helpful as it was to actually reduce my daily intake of caffeine, especially when the time to go to bed was getting closer and closer.
Up to this day, I have one good delicious warm cup of coffee in the morning but that’s about it.
#5. Make no room for distractions
As my Dad used to say, “when it’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep.”
We should try to get rid of distractions such as the TV, radio or even our phones.
Normally when using a smartphone or watching TV, our brain produces chemicals that due to the blue light of these devices can instruct our body to remain awake, which can be confusing for our brains, causing more exhaustion and obviously an inability to sleep.
#6. Have dinner at least 3 hours before bed or not at all
I know my body struggled enough with me going through recovery.
I also know that our metabolism slows down while we are asleep.
So having big meals before bed is giving our bodies a lot of work to do when it’s supposed to be resting, which might result in waking up or having some digestive annoyances during the night.
I try to eat as little as possible before going to bed.
A warm cup of warm milk or cocoa, with toast with cream cheese and jam, does the trick for me.
#7. Be patient if taking sleep medication
It is recommended to give the medication some time to work out and kick in.
We can’t just take the medication and hop in bed expecting to be knocked out immediately.
I don’t usually take any medication before sleeping, but when I need to I give myself some time before going to bed so that my body can absorb all the chemicals.
In the meantime, I try to organize a couple things for the next day, such as my outfit, maybe what I will have for breakfast or just tidy up the house enough to keep myself busy while I’m ready for bed.
#8. Try to maintain a sleeping schedule
Getting body and mind used to a schedule is of great help.
Our internal clock will know when time to sleep is coming near and will help us to relax and smoothly transit into a calm and nice sleep.
It will also help us to get up every day without the need of an alarm and we will feel fresh and ready to take on the new day.
Trying to comply with the same pattern every day can be challenging but is definitely worth a shot, especially if we are dealing with sleeping problems.
Having a healthy and regular sleeping pattern is extremely important, not only during but also after recovery.
Sleeping badly can increase our chances of relapse and anxiety.
However, having sleeping problems during early stages of our recovery is rather usual and common, so what we can do best is try to do some research on how to achieve a healthy sleeping pattern and have a lot of patience with ourselves to avoid anxiety.
Just as we shouldn’t play the blame game, we should also cut ourselves some slack when trying to go to bed.
After all, it’s supposed to be the most relaxing part of our day.
If you’d like to ask a question or would like to suggest another tip we might have forgotten to mention, feel free to leave a comment below.
About the author
I’m Carl Towns a 28-year-old wanna-be writer; I am also a recovering addict in the path of self-discovery. My goal is to learn as many things as possible and to seize every single moment I live, pretty much trying to make up for all that I missed on the years I was lost in drugs and alcohol (among other things). I’m in love with tech, cars and pretty much anything that can be found online.