How Does Sleep Impact Recovery and Treatment?

How Does Sleep Impact Recovery and Treatment?

Quality sleep is essential during treatment for substance use disorder (SUD). Feeling restful and re-energized after a good night’s sleep will help you maintain focus and improve your general well-being. In addition, sleep plays a vital role in relapse prevention. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “[P]oor quality sleep may make it harder to learn new coping and self-regulation skills necessary for recovery.” Newport Beach Recovery Center offers evidence-based treatments to help clients establish healthy routines.

What Are Sleep Disturbances?

Everyone experiences nights when they have trouble falling or staying asleep. Stress is the most common cause of these sleep issues. However, lifestyle choices, mental health symptoms, substance misuse, neurological changes, and other factors can contribute to unhealthy sleep patterns. Establishing a healthy sleep schedule is one of the first steps toward emotional and physical recovery during rehabilitation.

Common examples of sleep disturbances include:

  • Insomnia
  • Chronic oversleeping
  • Waking multiple times throughout the night
  • Night terrors
  • Nightmares
  • Sleepwalking
  • Waking too early and being unable to fall back asleep

The symptoms of sleep disturbances vary significantly from person to person. Monitor your mood, behavior, energy level, and emotional stability for unusual changes. Often these are the first signs of unhealthy sleep patterns.

Signs of Unhealthy Sleep Patterns

The recommended amount of sleep is between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. How much sleep you need changes as you age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 34.8% of adults reported experiencing sleep disturbances in 2020. Some commonly reported signs of unhealthy sleep patterns include:

  • Feeling tired throughout the day
  • Waking up feeling unrested
  • Difficulty concentrating or “brain fog”
  • Lack of energy or severely fluctuating energy levels
  • Unusual irritation or anger
  • Experiencing work or school burnout
  • Feeling emotionally unstable
  • Frequently napping

Not everyone notices if their sleep behaviors change. However, if you begin to feel tired in the morning or emotionally drained, you might have a sleep problem. In addition, some individuals have co-occurring physical health issues that interfere with their ability to fall or stay asleep. If you wake up often throughout the night and have headaches or feel overly tired, you might want to get a sleep assessment. A sleep study may reveal sleep apnea or other health issues that can interfere with your recovery. Most physical sleep disorders are highly treatable if diagnosed early.

How Do Sleep Disturbances Affect Recovery?

Your quality of sleep can impact the way you feel, think, and act. Control your sleep patterns by eating nutritional meals, staying hydrated, regularly exercising, practicing self-care, and creating healthy daily routines. Sleep disturbances can affect recovery in the following ways:

  • Make it more challenging to overcome ambivalence and stay motivated
  • Increase the risk of relapse and co-occurring mental health issues
  • Lower the effectiveness of therapy and coping skills

What Are Some Ways You Can Improve Your Sleep Patterns?

Even minor changes to your daily routine can improve your sleep cycle. Below are four ways you can increase the quality of your sleep.

#1 Prescription Medications to Manage Symptoms

The symptoms of SUD and mental health issues can interfere with sleep. Also, substance misuse often causes physiological changes in the brain that affect sleep. In some cases, prescription medication is necessary to ensure you get enough sleep to remain healthy and cope with daily stressors.

Several common sleep medications include:

  • Ambien® (zolpidem)
  • Lunesta® (eszopiclone)
  • Rozerem® (ramelteon)
  • Silenor® (doxepin)
  • Sonata® (zaleplon)

#2 Practice Relaxation and Mindfulness-Based Techniques

Relaxation and mindfulness-based techniques like meditation and deep breathing can help your body physically relax. If you consciously relax your muscles and even out your breathing before going to bed, it can help you fall and stay asleep. Relaxation techniques can also help you fall back asleep if you have interrupted sleep during the night.

#3 Set a Sleep Schedule

Residential treatment programs have a structured schedule to help people in early recovery relearn how to develop healthy sleeping patterns. Maintaining a sleep schedule throughout treatment can make recovering from emotional and physical stress easier.

Healthy sleep schedules usually involve the following:

  • Following a set routine every night
  • Preparing to sleep by removing distractions, including tablets, phones, or gaming devices
  • Going to bed at the same time each night
  • Ensuring you have enough time to get the recommended amount of sleep
  • Sleeping in a quiet place that does not have distracting sounds or lights

#4 Talk to Your Support System

If you often lie awake at night thinking about things that worry you, it might help to talk with someone in your support system. Sometimes verbalizing the thoughts inside your head can help you get a good night’s sleep. Use your resources to decrease the amount of stress you feel before starting your bedtime routine.

Sleep affects mental and physical health, mood, and behavior. Lack of sleep or too much sleep can interfere with your ability to focus and function throughout the day. Frequent sleep disturbances also cause emotional distress and lower your stress threshold. You can take steps to ensure that you get the recommended amount of sleep each night. Creating a sleep schedule, practicing self-care, and other tools will help you get enough rest to remain focused and motivated. Ongoing recovery depends on you getting enough quality sleep each night to stay energized. Newport Beach Recovery Center uses strict scheduling and evidence-based treatments to help clients achieve and maintain healthy routines during recovery. To learn more, call us at (888) 850-0363