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How Do I Deal with Insomnia During Treatment and Recovery?

Insomnia is a common withdrawal symptom for many drugs and it can persist for months into recovery. That’s unfortunate because sleep is essential for sobriety, clear thinking, and good health. Lack of sleep makes you irritable, depressed, and less able to handle the challenges of daily life. If you are experiencing insomnia, there are some things you can do to sleep better.

Get in a rhythm.

As much as possible, try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day. The more it coincides with sunrise and sunset, the better, because that’s the time you naturally get the most restful sleep. A regular schedule trains your body and mind to prepare for sleep.

Avoid caffeine late in the day.

Cut off all caffeine after noon and see if that helps. If you are prone to anxiety, you might want to try cutting out caffeine entirely as it can make anxiety worse, which can keep you awake.

Keep a journal.

Think about how many hours of sleep you’ve lost worrying about things that might happen or rehashing old arguments in your head. Getting those down on paper before you go to bed helps you let go of them. This also helps if you find yourself awake at three AM ruminating. Rather than lying there for hours trying to get back to sleep, it’s much better to take a few minutes and write about what’s bothering you so you don’t feel like you have to work out the whole problem in the middle of the night.

Get some exercise.

The more active you are during the day, the easier it is to sleep at night. If you just sit around all day, then try to lie down and sleep, there’s not really any difference to signal it’s time to rest. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it can keep you awake. It’s usually best to have a two or three hour gap between exercise and trying to sleep.

Wind down before bed.

Don’t try to go straight from doing stuff to trying to sleep. Give yourself a little time to coast. Take a bath or shower or spend a few minutes reading something enjoyable, preferably in a real paper book rather than a screen. You might want to try meditating, or progressive relaxation to calm you down.

Don’t do other stuff in bed.

Don’t sit in bed watching TV or looking at Facebook on your phone. Not only do those distract you and wake up your brain with blue light, but they also blur the line between awake and asleep time. You want to form a strong association between getting in bed and going to sleep. Some experts even suggest getting up if you don’t fall asleep within half an hour. Read or do something relaxing until you feel like you might be ready to sleep.

There are, of course, drugs and supplements you can take to help you sleep, but if you are in treatment or recovery, it’s probably best to avoid relying on those except as a last resort. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.