“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together” or so a man by the name of Thomas Dekker said. More often than it should, many of us go through our long productive day of what not’s and right as it’s time to sneak under the covers and relax- our minds start racing 100 miles an hour. It’s definitely true that too much sleep can be unhealthy for the body and mind, but then again, so is not getting enough of it. Spending our time dreaming away is like everything else in life, a balance has to be maintained for maximum efficiency. Our mind and bodies require it to continue at a rational state day end and day out.
When insomnia in sobriety is dumped into the mix, it can catch even the most alert and self-aware of people off guard. It’s one thing when you have a sleep deprived person while they’re in active addiction- they’re thoughts are already deranged and in a different reality. Then we initiate the lack of sleep and recovery equation. This is another ball game entirely, but there are methods for fighting it and joining sides with Mr. Sandman.
Teach Me How to Sleep
Being sleepless can be fun to an extent, but for only so long. I was notorious for staying up all night, getting a few hours of sleep, and then starting over and repeating the next day. It’s one thing to be a feverish night owl like myself, but when you have the actual sleeping disorder- it can be a bit tougher to lay your head on a pillow and conch out for the evening. We all know that skipping out on a decent slumber will put us in a hazy almost weakened state the following day. Our minds don’t process things at an up to par speed, and physically we are heavier to the ground. Just like the precious smartphone glued to our hands, we too must recharge.
The thing with insomnia in sobriety is that a lot of the time, we do it to ourselves. Much of the time, (in milder cases), the lack of sleep is due to something in our routines or our general diet. I believe it’s natural for a lot of addicts and alcoholics to latch onto something once they get sober and much of the time, caffeine and nicotine make their availability very prevalent. How often is it that you see somebody at an Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meeting with a red bull or cup of coffee glued to their hand? Bingo. Right there is a simpler solution than meets the eye. When we enter recovery, we can’t just ingest things all willy-nilly like we did when we were actively using. Watching the clock and paying attention to when that pre-workout mix or 5 Hour Energy was taken becomes of vital importance. Caffeine and nicotine each play a gargantuan role in our overall health and sleeping patterns. They affect blood flow and are both mood altering substances. As the night progresses, it is wise to slow the consumption of both these things for they will decrease the chances of your eyes staying shut.
Then there are those of us who deal with the sleep issues even when consumption of caffeine becomes heavily regulated. It starts to boil down essentially to the fact that having less sleep will cause us to be more prone to making bad decisions. One of those bad decisions becomes going to bed later and later- thus creating a warped revolving door that we get sucked into. Our minds start working at half capacity toward outside stimuli, that and our body is out of sync. This is not ideal, so we look for what can be done to help said problem. Insomnia in sobriety obviously limits the idea of taking different sleeping pills. There are a few that are acceptable in the realms of recovery, but even those skate on the thin line of highly debatable. My take would be that taking sleeping pills is more suitable during earlier recovery. Once an adequate amount of time begins to establish itself, there should be other methods used over pharmaceuticals.
One technique that I particularly favor to battle insomnia in sobriety is deep breathing and the meditative response that comes with it. Taking the time to put the world on pause and almost mentally counting sheep with your breath doing all the work. The deep rooted and consistent inhales and exhales help to unwind the brain waves running rampantly through our thick sleepless skulls. This increases blood flow in certain areas of the brain and allows everything to center. As more oxygen is delivered one full breath at a time. Drawing in a deep gasp of air and counting with it as you release it slowly out your lungs. This breath work will relax you while being synonymous with finding your soul.
Then there are other methods such as certain foods or teas even. A very commonly overlooked concept is what we’re putting into our bodies. I’m not necessarily referring to having the healthiest of diets either, but having an even balance of vitamins and healthy products entering your body every day. We deprive ourselves of the herbs and nutrients our body craves for energy. Often times we eat garbage or microwave food because of convenience. Taking the time to go back to our roots and feeding our bodies what they crave can make a world of difference.
At the end of the day, it’s about being open-minded and trying different suggestions whether they seem imperative or not. Try a new diet. Listen to some soothing music. Take a long bath. Workout and exhaust yourself earlier in the day. Count sheep or dragons- the options are unlimited when your properly plan for your insomnia in sobriety that is soon to follow.
Sleep is the Cousin of Death
Sleep is not for the weak, it’s required for us to think sensibly. More cases than not, we end up on social media staying up way past our bedtimes. Day after day of this can wear even the strongest down. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.