sleep in recovery

How Withdrawal Insomnia Disrupts Sleep Patterns

Freeing yourself from long-term drug and alcohol use is an excellent way to reclaim your healthy lifestyle and rediscover your full potential, but it can be an uphill battle. After prolonged drug abuse, your body develops a physical dependency on the substance, and when you quit using, withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia are the result.

Disrupted sleep, also called irregular sleep-wake syndrome, is one of the most significant challenges of withdrawal and drug detoxification. Good-quality sleep is one of the most essential factors to a successful recovery and overall health, but withdrawal symptoms like elevated heart rate, anxiety and flu-like aches can make sleep elusive.

Withdrawal’s Effect on Sleep

Withdrawal insomnia is typically temporary, and sleep patterns should gradually return to normal as part of the recovery process. However, trouble sleeping can make recovery even more challenging than it has to be.

Irregular sleep-wake cycles can contribute to stress and emotional upheaval, and make it difficult for you to concentrate and stay motivated. People who find it too frustrating to deal with withdrawal insomnia could eventually put themselves at higher risk of a relapse.

Why Does Withdrawal Insomnia Happen?

Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, the brain creates less of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. One of the things that makes withdrawal difficult is that it can take a month or more to get back to producing normal levels of dopamine. During this time, stress can take on an outsized role in your life, disrupting healthy sleep patterns and keeping you awake at all hours.

It’s possible for people recovering from drug and alcohol misuse to experience problems sleeping for a few months during and after recovery, but generally, the first couple of days are the hardest for withdrawal insomnia and other symptoms.

How to Get Better Sleep During Withdrawal

Getting a good night’s sleep during withdrawal can be tricky, but focusing on getting much-needed rest can help support recovery. Here are three suggestions for improving sleep quality and avoiding withdrawal insomnia.

1. Use Light Therapy

Your body’s internal clock relies on natural cues to determine when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be active. If your clock gets off-track, you can have trouble falling or staying asleep. Exposure to light can be helpful for resetting your circadian rhythms. Take daily walks outside if possible, or open the blinds or curtains to let natural light come in. At night, minimize light exposure, dimming overhead lights or turning them off completely to signal your brain that it’s time to start winding down for the night.

2. Develop a Relaxation Routine

If you find yourself feeling anxious or stressed around bedtime, do relaxing activities like meditation, listening to soothing music or drinking a cup of chamomile tea.

3. Maintain a Sleep Schedule

One of the best ways to reinforce a healthy sleep-wake cycle is to get in a regular schedule of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Follow this schedule consistently, even during weekends and vacations.

Comfortable Detox in Southern California

Withdrawal symptoms can be one of the biggest challenges of getting and staying sober, and insomnia may further complicate an already difficult situation. However, by following these tips, you can combat withdrawal insomnia, renew your commitment to your recovery and enjoy your newfound sobriety.

If you need help for your drug or alcohol problem, call Inland Detox today to learn how we can help you detoxify in a safe and medically supervised environment. We are a premier drug detox facility in beautiful Southern California, and our compassionate admissions team is waiting to hear from you.