People who suffer from addiction also often suffer from insomnia and sleep problems. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are five to 10 times more likely than the general population to have a sleep disorder. These problems can cause distress when you leave your addiction treatment center.
Drugs and alcohol make sleep quality worse. Stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine cause wakefulness, opiates like heroin and prescription painkillers cause difficulty in falling and staying asleep, and marijuana causes people to feel sleepy during the day. And alcohol, while a depressant that can lull you to sleep, ultimately disrupts crucial REM and slow-wave sleep and causes people to wake up feeling badly rested. Tragically, many alcohol addictions begin when someone tries to self-medicate for insomnia. Overall, an overwhelming majority of drug abusers report poor sleep quality.
This is a big problem for anyone leaving an addiction recovery facility, as sleep problems can directly cause relapse. Lack of sleep can cause irritability, stress, and moodiness, among a host of other physical and mental health issues, which can all contribute to cravings and eventual relapse. And early recovery is the worst time for sleep problems; a 2014 Stanford study found that people in early recovery suffer from insomnia five times more than the general population. The first few days, weeks, and months can be a rollercoaster of sleep deprivation, cravings, and pain.
On top of these problems, people in recovery may be in danger of becoming addicted to sleep aids. Highly addictive drugs such as Lunesta or Ambien may be prescribed to those in recovery to help them maintain a more regular sleep schedule, but this prescription carries a high price. People in early recovery are very vulnerable, and any activation of the neural transmitters frequently stimulated during drug use can lead to intense cravings and relapse. Suddenly, people who initially suffered from alcohol addiction may find themselves in drug rehab for Ambien addiction.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to prescription sleep aids and strategies for sleeping better. Regular exercise—even taking a short walk every day—improves sleep quality and increases energy. In terms of diet, try to avoid caffeine or large meals later in the day, as they can both keep the body working and awake well into the night. Put away electronic screens a few hours before bed, as the blue light can keep sleep at bay. Use your bed only for sleeping, not for work, reading, or watching Netflix. Finally, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
If you or someone you love is trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction, please contact our empathetic representatives today. Make the first step toward healing and sobriety, and we will connect you with a luxury drug rehab program where you can rest and recover in the greatest of comfort. Our team will work with you to design an individualized treatment plan that will help you begin your journey of recovery and lifelong sobriety.